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30/09/2012 by

How Pinterest Can Help Fight Crime?

Social networks, part of our daily lives can be used for various activities. Leisure, networking, finding useful and handy information.

Pinterest - Wanted by Police!

And one of the very recent social networks – Pinterest, known best for nail art, cupcakes, wedding ideas and motivational posters with bad typography has become quite a success for local law enforcement. How?

There was a slight controversy last year when the Portland Police Department posted photos of arrested Occupy protestors to Facebook. Maybe the inspiration was found there and Pottstown, Pennsylvania newspaper The Pottstown Mercury has begun sharing photographs of wanted individuals through Pinterest.

Almost 800 citizen Pinners currently follow the board, and as you may noticed on the board they are invited to provide the newspaper and police departments with information on where the individuals are.

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. Any questions or concerns regarding the content of this board should be made to Brandie Kessler ([email protected]), Eileen Faust ([email protected]) and/or Diane Hoffman ([email protected]).

Why to use Pinterest?

And the results? Readers have already commented on a few photos with some tips about suspects. According to an interview with police in the Pottstown Mercury, the project has resulted in a 58% increase in arrests. That’s what I call a “happy pinning!”

Pinterest Wanted By police tip

What’s your opinion, is it OK to use social networks to help find criminals? Can it work worldwide as well or has only a local effect?




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Martin Michalik
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Comments (6)

  • Igor Beuker 01/10/2012, 00:05

    It reminds me of the big-data that is being used as predictive modelling tool to fight crime: Minority Report, great movie!

  • Marcus Zimmer 01/10/2012, 09:50

    I think this is a brilliant idea. I would have never thought that social networks could be used to fight crime and get suspects, but I certainly do like the idea. One can argue that it may resemble “big brother”, however, it is only for our safety and this should be our priority.

  • Paris Daniell 01/10/2012, 21:39

    Really interesting idea. The 58% increase in arrests would be a lot more compelling if this were Harrisburg rather than Pottstown (500k+ population v.s. 22k).

    One question though, how does the PD verify info? Wouldn’t criminals be likely to submit bogus leads?

  • SJB
    03/10/2012, 03:39

    My hometown police department had a “Most Wanted” section on their Facebook page, and one clown recognized himself, shared his mugshot to his own Facebook page and then announced on his status update that he was turning himself i.

  • Simone Jackson 22/10/2012, 04:26

    An unusual way to fight crime, but a smart one nonetheless. The use of Pinterest in crime fighting grabs people’s attention and may give police tips from unlikely sources. It would be interesting to see the results of something like this in a larger city. I feel that the outcome may be much different.