Cops Learn To Use Pinterest

May 7, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

After the shitstorm fiasco of #myNYPD, it may come as a surprise that not all police activity on social media results in disaster. This week, NPR’s All Tech Considered blog is lauding all the ways that police departments around the world are using social networks to solve crimes, specifically Pinterest:

“It’s a way for us to reach people who wouldn’t have gotten our messages before, people who maybe don’t interact with traditional media,” Kansas City police spokesperson Sarah Boyd has said.

Other examples include police in Richmond, Va., who use Pinterest to help in unsolved murder cases; and Pottstown, Pa., has reportedly seen a 57 percent increase in arrest rates for offenses such as theft, fraud and sexual assault after a local newspaper launched a Pinterest board featuring criminals’ mug shots.

NPR also describes how the Federal Australian Police used YouTube pre-roll ads to disseminate a video of all the current missing persons in the country, which was so successful it won an award at this year’s SXSW Interactive.

The idea of having a more transparent channel between police and citizens as a method for better communication is a good one. Now if only we could trust them to not abuse it. (Image: NPR)