Can You Identify a Criminal By His Walk?

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There are certain walks you can identify a mile away, like John Wayne's cowboy swagger or Giselle's supermodel sashay.

But some scientists say what we see on the catwalk can also be applied to the perp walk -- criminals' walks may give them away.

"Everybody appears to be unique by the way they walk," said Mark Nixon, a professor at England's Southampton University.

The British researcher and his team have developed what's called "automatic gait recognition," a 3-D computer program that analyzes the way a person walks.

They say it will allow investigators to match images caught on tape to a suspect's walk.

Unique As a Fingerprint?

New York fitness trainer Pat Manocchia has also launched a study on people's gait -- hoping to prove it's as unique as a fingerprint. A person's walk transmits information about muscle strength, bone length and body mass, for example.

"No one else is walking like you on the planet -- unless you have a twin brother somewhere," Manocchia said.

He points to the scene in the movie "The Usual Suspects" in which Kevin Spacey's character is identified by his walk.

Nixon and his team began their work after chilling images of a toddler being led away from a store were captured on tape in 1993. The toddler was later killed.

And in this country, criminologists say the Carlie Brucia case -- where the abduction of an 11-year-old Florida girl was caught on tape -- is another example where this new technology could help.

"If we can develop the gait technology to the point where we can actually argue that there are distinctive variables to a person's walk, this could be something we could actually record with known criminals and compare to future crimes," said criminologist Casey Jordan.

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