Juan Vucetich

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Juan Vucetich.

Juan Vucetich (July 20, 1858 – January 25, 1925) was a Croatian-born Argentine anthropologist and police official who pioneered the use of fingerprinting.

Biography[edit]

Vucetich was born as Ivan Vučetić at Hvar in the Dalmatian region of Croatia then part of the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1882, he immigrated to Argentina.

In 1891 Vucetich began the first filing of fingerprints based on ideas of Francis Galton which he expanded significantly. He became the director of the Center for Dactyloscopy in Buenos Aires. At the time, he included the Bertillon system alongside the fingerprint files.[1]

In 1892 Vucetich made the first positive identification of a criminal in a case where Francisca Rojas had killed her two sons and then cut her throat, trying to put the blame on the outside attacker. A bloody print identified her as the killer.[1]

Argentine police adopted Vucetich's method of fingerprinting classification and it spread to police forces all over the world. Vucetich improved his method with new material and in 1904 published Dactiloscopía Comparada[2] ("Comparative Dactyloscopy"). He traveled to India and China and attended scientific conferences to gather more data.

Juan Vucetich died in Dolores, Buenos Aires.

Legacy[edit]

In his honor, the La Plata police academy has been named Escuela de Policia "Juan Vucetich" (Juan Vucetich Police Academy), and an eponymous museum was also founded. The police Center for Forensics Examinations (Centar za kriminalistička vještačenja "Ivan Vučetić") in Zagreb, Croatia is also named after him. The Croatian city of Pula has a memorial marker to Vucetich, owing to his service there while in the Austro-Hungarian Navy.[3]

References[edit]