Juan Vucetich

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Juan Vucetich
Juan Vucetich 100.jpg
Ivan Vučetić

(1858-07-20)July 20, 1858
DiedJanuary 25, 1925(1925-01-25) (aged 66)
Resting placeLa Plata Cemetery
Police career
DepartmentPolicía de Buenos Aires

Juan Vucetich Kovacevich (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxwam buˈtʃetitʃ]; born Ivan Vučetić, pronounced [ǐʋan ʋǔtʃetitɕ]; July 20, 1858 – January 25, 1925) was a Croatian-Argentine anthropologist and police official who pioneered the use of fingerprinting.


Vucetich was born in Hvar in the Croatian region of Dalmatia, then part of the Austrian Empire. 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, Argentina. 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 children and then cut her throat, trying to put the blame on the outside attacker. A bloody print identified her as the killer.[1]

Dactiloscopía comparada (1904)

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, Argentina.


Ivan Vučetić's bust in the port of Hvar

In his honor, the Buenos Aires province police academy, near La Plata, has been named Escuela de Policía "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] Also, he has a bust in his birth town, in Hvar City on the island of Hvar.


  1. ^ a b "The History of Fingerprints". Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Juan Vucetich and the origins of forensic fingerprinting". Visible Proofs. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  3. ^ Memorial marker to Ivan Vučetić unveiled