Juan Vucetich

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Juan Vucetich

Iván Vučetić , nationalized Argentine with the name of Juan Vucetich Kovacevich , (Hvar, Austro-Hungarian Empire, July 20, 1858 – Dolores, January 25, 1925) He was an Argentinean anthropologist and policeman of Croatian origin when he was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Vucetich developed and put into practice for the first time an effective system of identification of people by their fingerprints.

Juan Vucetich’s Biography

Juan Vucetich, Cao cartoon.

Born on July 20, 1858 on the island of Hvar (in Italian, Lesina) in the archipelago of Dalmatia (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now Croatia) the perhaps anthropologist Ivan Vučetić (his studies are unknown) was established in Argentina, in 1882, at the age of 23 years. Already nationalized Argentine with the name of Juan Vucetich, entered in 1888 to the central department of the Police of the Province of Buenos Aires (in the city of La Plata). Initially employed in the accounting with the degree of meritorious, a year and a half later he was appointed head of the Statistics Office. Then he created the Anthropometric Identification Office and later the Fingerprint Center he was director of.

On September 1, 1891, Vucetich made the first fingerprints of the world with the fingerprints of 23 defendants, and established itself as the World Criminal Criminal Day. After verifying the method with 645 inmates of the La Plata prison, in 1894 the Police of the Province of Buenos Aires officially adopted its system. In 1905, his dactyloscopic system (initially called “icnofalangometría”) was incorporated by the Police of the Capital (by the city of Buenos Aires), the future Argentine Federal Police. In 1907 the Academy of Sciences of Paris publicly reported that the method of identification of people developed by Vucetich was the most accurate known at that time. In 1911, when Law 8129 of military enlistment and electoral regime was passed, this system was adopted for the identification of Argentine males over 18 years of age.

When Vucetich visited Paris in 1913, Bertillon – who had never forgiven him for criticizing his imperfect system, created in 1883 – publicly despised him.

Vucetich widowed from his first two marriages. He was married for the third time to a ranchwoman. After public protests in Argentina in 1917 against the obligation of general identification of people, which was associated with his name, he settled in the town of Dolores where – cancer and tuberculosis disease – he died on January 25, 1925 Honoring his merits, he was baptized with his name to the Police School of the Province of Buenos Aires and the forensic police center of Zagreb (capital of Croatia, his native country).

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