You may know Pinterest is that "place with all of the food pictures" or "that place where my girlfriend spends all of her time," but social media is versatile - and Pinterest is proving to be no exception. The fast-growing social media site is on its way to becoming a great law enforcement tool.
In Pottsville, Pennsylvania, local authorities have seen positive results from a new Pinterest page that displays wanted criminals - their mugshots and a brief blurb about their crimes. The idea was actually engendered by staff at The Mercury, Pottstown's newspaper. The page, WANTED BY POLICE, currently features 74 pins and nearly 1,000 followers.
"This is an album of persons wanted by local police departments for various offenses. All information and mug shots have been provided by law enforcement officials," says the page. Below that you'll find mugshots and more information.
When you think about it, Pinterest is a perfect platform on which to try something like this. First of all, it's photo-heavy, and all of those mugshots can be displayed in a manner that's much better than how they would looks on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or even a Tumblr blog. Plus, users can repin the mugshots to their pinboards and provide direct feedback to officials via comments.
For example, it probably helped local officials to learn that Ashley Pupek, who is wanted for prescription fraud, is on Facebook. It also probably helped to learn that Jesse Sterner, who was listed as living at 103 W. Philadelphia Ave, doesn't live there anymore - because a commenter does.
According to NPR, the Pinterest page is already helping - immensely.
"We've actually seen a 57 percent increase in our warrant services, and we actually got more people based on our tips and our calls," said Police Captain Richard Drumheller.
He said that the Pinterest Wanted page has actually led some people to call in to report themselves, as they saw their own mugshot online.
Apparently, the trend has spread to a bigger city. Seeing how well it has been working in Pottstown, police in Philadelphia began using Pinterest in the same way.