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FBI Trying to Track Tattoos; Database Being Set Up

SACRAMENTO—

Colorful body art is now being tracked by the FBI. Our local Sacramento Division of the FBI doesn’t actually compile the tattoos – so they say they can’t comment on how, or who, is being tracked.

But, it’s safe to assume it’s not every person with body ink.

“Especially with so many tattoo shops here in town, and the people that tattoo out of their house and people tattooing in prison, it’s kind of hard to track down a tattoo,” said Dave O’Connor, owner of Sacramento Tattoo on X Street.

However, the FBI has found a way to compile all of the information.

Every week on FOX40, we have a segment called Crime Alert. It’s a way of getting photos and information out on criminals that Sacramento Police need help, from the community, to track down and arrest. In the information section about the criminals, there’s a “distinctive marks” section, which lists where and what type of words or symbols of tattoos are on that particular criminal. This information is being put together locally when the criminal is booked into jail – and that’s where the tracking begins.

O’Connor believes that’s all part of the booking process.

“They also take what kind of scars you have, how tall you are, they take your picture. I mean, that’s just part of a portfolio that they are making on you, and if they put your tattoos in there, that kind of goes along with the whole process,” O’Connor said.

A process in which the FBI wants more information on those who are in and out of a jail cell the most: big-time criminals, gang members and even terrorists. The government having information on these select groups better enables them to keep track of what they are doing, and also gives them a better chance at stopping anything serious from happening in your neighborhood.

The FBI already tracks finger prints, and in some cases, voice recognition. By next year, they plan to have a broad tattoo database ready to go, even including information on people’s scars and birthmarks – all things that make each individual unique.

Katie Hackett filed this report.