Police recruit Pinterest for manhunts
The Philadelphia Police Department posts images of suspects to its Pinterest boards so the public can help identity and locate criminals.
Thu, Jan 03, 2013 at 5:40 PM
Philadelphia has had success posting surveillance videos to YouTube. As of last month, the department had secured 112 arrests from its 200 videos. (Photo: Philadelphia Police Department)
Move over fashion criminals. Pinterest is now home to real lawbreakers. The Philadelphia Police Department has begun posting images of suspects to its boards on Pinterest. Arranged by neighborhood, it's an invitation for the public to aid investigators in identifying and locating criminals.
Pinterest offers advantages over other social media networks such as Facebook , which has long been used by authorities. Pinterest's bulletin board format offers higher visibility than Facebook's timeline, where photos can get lost in the stream of posts.
Philadelphia had already achieved success by posting surveillance videos to YouTube. As of last month, the department had secured 112 arrests from the approximately 200 videos it posted to its YouTube channel, Cpl. Frank Domizio, the Philadelphia officer who launched the department's Pinterest account, told NPR. The Pinterest board features screenshots taken from the videos of unidentified criminals. Domizio said he hopes his Pinterest posts will lead to more arrests.
“Using the social media formula that we've come up with, we've arrested two cop killers and an old lady that was stealing silk flowers, so it kind of runs the gamut,” Domizio told NPR. “People are tired of crime in their neighborhoods and they really do want to help.”
Philadelphia's police force is not the only one hosting crime-fighting boards on Pinterest . The Kansas City, Mo., police began posting surveillance videos last October, requesting that people with information call their TIPS hotline. Kansas City also has a board for missing persons and unsolved homicides from 2012.
Similarly, the Leominster Police Department in Massachusetts has posted boards for wanted persons, missing persons and images from surveillance videos taken during crimes.
For now, only a handful of police departments have added Pinterest to their social media crime-fighting tools, but if successful, pinners may start seeing more mug shots along with the recipes, crafting how-tos and fashion faux pas in their Pinterest feeds.
However, police may still have to learn the ins and outs of Pinterest. One image has a price banner across it marked at $3,000. A reward? No, the man in the image had allegedly stolen $3,000 worth of razors. Pinterest's algorithm noted the figure in the description text and automatically posted it as the "price" on the pin.
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