skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 251377 Find in a Library
Title: Sensitive Site Exploitation Through Trace Chemical Analysis of Latent Fingerprints (SETCAF)
Author(s): Daniel Pinto
Corporate Author: George Mason University
United States of America
Date Published: November 2017
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030-4444
National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 2012-DN-BX-K038
Sale Source: US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
810 Seventh Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Program/Project Description; Report (Study/Research); Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Document; Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This project’s primary goal was to provide a smart collection capability to gain enhanced information from chemicals extracted from finger marks and smudges, with a focus on fatty acids that would expand the role of the traditional latent fingerprint collection and analysis process into an additional repository of probative information.
Abstract: Identifying gender and ethnicity, among other demographics, from unknown fingerprints would be an invaluable investigative tool. This study suggests that such identification may be possible with further research in this field. Further research of fatty acids in latent fingerprints and sensitive site exploitation through trace chemical analysis of latent fingerprints (SETCAF) present potential for determination of an individual’s age, gender, and ethnicity; however, the number of samples beyond the 160 from the current study is necessary. The researchers estimate that a number above 1,000 samples will enable determination of an unknown individual’s age, gender, or ethnicity through the analysis of fatty acids in latent fingerprints. This information will enable investigators to narrow their pool of suspects, apply additional forensic testing if warranted, and develop and analyze more discerning and relevant leads. Although current forensic science considers DNA the gold standard of forensic evidence, insufficient amounts of DNA in latent fingerprints and lack of a match in the Combined DNA Index System are limitations that SETCAF does not have. Fatty acids are ubiquitously present in fingers and are transferred to latent fingerprints. In addition, some of the limitations of conventional fingerprinting, such as a fingerprint smudge, do not interfere with SETCAF. 4 figures, 4 tables, and 21 references
Main Term(s): Forensic sciences
Index Term(s): Age determination; Ethnicity; Fingerprint Analysis; Gender determination; Investigative techniques; Latent fingerprints; National Institute of Justice (NIJ); NIJ final report; Offender physical characteristics; Suspect identification
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.