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Question

Several prints were lifted from the scene of the crime. A few prints were found on the glass, others were found on

the gun handle, and one partial print was lifted from the doorknob. The prints on the glass and the gun both belong to Dr. Fisher, but the partial print belongs to someone else. You run it through the criminal databases—but no luck. Could it have been one of his colleagues? A visitor? A patient?

You'll have to fingerprint some suspects to find out. But first, why not practice?

Here's what you'll need:

  • Pencil
  • Index cards or white paper
  • Transparent tape (ie. Scotch tape) or clear packing tape
  • Light-colored balloon(s)
  • Sharpie marker
  • Small paintbrush or makeup brush with soft bristles
  • Cocoa powder, talcum powder, or cornstarch
  • Glass
  1. Your Prints At Large
  2. Rub pencil lead over the index card or paper to make an "ink" pad.
  3. Blow up a balloon partway, so that it's about as big as a baseball.
  4. Gently roll your entire fingertip, from one side to the other, across the ink pad. The pencil lead should be transferred to your finger.
  5. Using the same rolling motion, roll your fingertip onto the balloon, leaving your print.
  6. Do steps 3 and 4 for each finger on your right hand. You might have to make new ink pads along the way. Press each finger on a different part of the balloon or onto different balloons. Label each fingerprint with a sharpie marker.
  7. Blow up the balloon(s) all the way. Your fingerprints are now huge!
  8. Does each fingertip show a loop, arch, or whorl pattern? Record which pattern each fingertip shows.
  9. Lifting Prints
  10. Press one of your fingertips against the glass so that you leave a fingerprint. Use one of the same fingers you used on the balloon.
  11. Gently brush a small amount of powder onto the print, using soft circular motions. The powder should stick.
  12. Use a piece of tape to lift the print.
  13. Transfer the print to blank paper or index cards by sticking the tape onto it.
  14. Compare the lifted print to the same print you made on the balloon. Do they match? How can you tell? What characteristics do the prints share? (At least two sentences)
  15. If you committed a crime, would it be easy for investigators to match this print to your records? Why or why not? Hint: how's the quality of the lifted print? How rare is your pattern? (At least two sentences)

Submit your completed written responses. You should have a minimum of four sentences that provide answers to the given questions within the assignment.

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