Busted! How Pinterest helps spot criminals
Arrests for wanted criminals in Pottstown, Pa., are up 58 percent thanks to one unlikely tool—Pinterest.
Brandie Kessler, a reporter for the Pottstown Mercury, is responsible for maintaining WANTED BY POLICE, a pinboard on the image-sharing network that lists 58 criminals and asks citizens to help locate them. Scrolling down the page, several have commented with hints and tips.
In an interview with digital journalist Steve Buttry, Kessler explained that Pinterest’s visual interface makes it perfect for displaying a gallery—even if it isn’t all photos of weddings and DIY projects.
"Many of its users use Pinterest to post or ‘pin’ recipes, craft ideas and other things which they can easily organize using the site,” she said. “However, we’ve found it’s also a great way to display mug shots.”
Originally, Kessler had a slideshow of criminals on the Pottstown Mercury site, but it “kept freezing or not working and it was difficult to update.” That wasn’t the case with Pinterest.
“It’s great because it’s easy to update, easy to view on a smartphone and you don’t even need a Pinterest account to view it. Plus, it’s simple to post the link on Facebook and Twitter, and our readers love it.”
The entire city has benefited from Kessler’s great idea. Speaking to the Mercury, Pottstown Police Capt. F. Richard Drumheller said arrests have gone up abruptly.
According to Poynter, Pottstown isn’t the only city who has made use of Pinterest for publicizing perpetrators. The San Jose Mercury News runs Bay Area Crime Mugs and the Washington Examiner maintains a board of D.C.-area wanted suspects.
Pinterest does not comment on individual users or boards.
Photo via Pinterest