When we ink a tattoo, we need to be aware that it becomes part of who we are. Believe it or not, tattoos are an important part of your identification and in agencies like the FBI are one of the most important pieces of evidence if they want to find you.
Besides the fingerprint and the face drawing identification, the tattoo is the perfect mark if forensics want to find a person or several people that belong to one group (or gang). Let’s explain a bit how this process goes because it is important to be informed of these techniques for yourself and your safety.
Tattoo Identification Systems
There are systems which help identify a person based on their tattoo. This is not just a case with gangs or catching a bad guy but also for people who were victims, got lost or died in tragic events. The tattoo is part of the soft biometric traits and it is considered as the most important evidence. Why is that? Every tattoo is unique in some way and it is the modern mark that makes the search for someone more clear making the fingerprint identification an old school thing.
There is a system called CBIR which means Tattoo-ID content-based image retrieval. Behind this system, there is a huge database with thousands of pictures of tattoos and its work is to find the nearest match with the investigated tattoo. Maybe you wonder where does this database come from?
Social Networks And The Tattoo Identification Process
We have pages like Facebook, Instagram, several mobile applications which can be serious threats for us or of very good use. It is not illegal for someone to search for us because everything is open. We take selfies, add pictures with friends, showing off our new tattoos and more. The multimedia, in general, is the biggest source for defining a database which is perfect for these systems for tattoo identification. Many law-enforcement agencies make multimedia analysis and combine systematic information that can help the investigation of a particular case to go further. There are so many different cases in which these system techniques can be used and after finding several near matches, agents continue to do the research manually.
It is very important to note that there are privacy rules even if the system is searching throughout a lot of tattoo pictures to find somebody. Before the search begins, the public images that are found are kept safe and all the information around them is removed before they go into the database.
When added into the database, the only important thing is to find a matching tattoo. There is a Code of Federal Regulations that protect all citizens, and only if a match or several matches are found, an investigation begins where they point out the necessary saved information for the person that has the matching tattoo.
Victims And Criminals Detection
The Unknown Identity
This is very useful for example, when the case is a John Doe or there is a robbery and the criminal wears a mask but maybe has a tattoo on his neck and the surveillance camera can record it.
It is very interesting to know that the ink of the tattoo goes very deep into the skin ad even severe burns can’t destroy it. Tattoo identification was one of the ways to identify the victims from the 9/11 tragedy.
Sometimes when a victim’s body is found many days after death there is no way to identify the man or woman from fingerprints but, if the victim has a tattoo, software database is used to find identification.
This is not an easy search so that is why the tattoo identification takes a long time from fingerprints or face match identifications. The details of the tattoo had been scanned and after that, every small detail is mathematically transformed into a digital string which becomes the main signature of the tattoo and is ready for research.
Group Tattoo Detection
These systems and applications for tattoo retrieval are dubbed as Next Generation Identification Programs. As you read until now, let say that it is 85% more accurate research than other methods that had been used before. Gang members tattoo identification is one of the most important concerns why these applications are made. Most of the gangs have matching tattoos so this way it is easier for the police to find them.
There are a lot of examples divided into data categories like for example a cat tattoo can mean that that person was a thief or two or three cats can mean that he was a part of a gang. A teardrop or a spider web – maybe these people don’t know each other around the world but most of the time these two categories define that these people were in prison. Sometimes, prostitutes have small tattoos on their fingers with their owner’s mark which means that they will always belong to him. There are so many group tattoos maybe while you read these you can think of other examples but to summarize, these tattoo identification programs are very useful. They keep us safe and help a lot of people to find there missing loved ones.
As a new alternative to traditional biometric traits, the tattoo identification systems are the most popular among police stations and other law-enforcement communities today.
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