- "Profiling tattoo markings for criminal activity is troublesome, as it can be a legitimate cultural artifact for some species, and wearing such markings is not criminal."
- ―Police officer Exantor Divo
Tattoos were markings that covered parts of certain sentient lifeforms' bodies.
For some species, tattoos were part of their culture. For example, male Dathomirians, the Nightbrothers, such as the Sith Lord Darth Maul, had natural striping that they embellished with tattoos. Female Dathomirians, the Nightsisters, had more subtle tattoos that were in contrast to their pale skin.
Some criminal gangs branded their heritage and affiliation through tattoos. Usually, the more elaborate a person's markings were, the more deeply entrenched and storied were their history with the gang.
There were also electro-conductive pigment patterns that could hold data and could be used to smuggle confiscated information, resulting in so-called electro-tattoos. Naley Frifa, an outlaw tech on Vandor, was also a tattoo artist who was proficient in inking such electro-tattoos, as well as more mundane tattoos like gang symbols. Frifa herself had numerous tattoos, including a stylized depiction of a hyperspace simu-tunnel on her neck and upper torso, and one on her left arm of the word "Hiro." The human Chelli Lona Aphra also had electro-tattoos.
Tattoo recognition could be used for security purposes. Certain tattoo patterns could be spotted by automatic sensors and seasoned police officers. The Imperial Office of Criminal Investigations had troves of records of tattoo symbology, and the Imperial Security Bureau utilized protocol droids that specialized in tattoo recognition, using them in transit areas and crowded spaceports.