Law enforcement is constantly evolving… often in surprising ways.  Take Pinterest, for example.  Most think of it as an electronic scrapbook where you can “pin” items of interest.  However, Pinterest has become an effective tool in solving crime. An increasing number of agencies are “pinning” pictures of stolen merchandise, crime scene photos, and cold case information.  The result:  lots of leads and many closed cases.

Pinterest has a wide following among women, moms specifically, who might want to know what a designer drug is and what’s out there.  It also appeals to a demographic that might want to see what the local police department has pinned lately.  The site’s highly graphical content is easy to browse, allowing the visitor to find, organize, keep, and share gems found on the web.  Some of the gems are stolen merchandise found by police and not claimed.

Some of the appeal is that many are on “news-feed overload.”  Pinterest allows the visitor to quickly access something of interest (such as cold cases) without sifting through a backlog of news stories.

The Richmond, Virginia Police Department has been using Pinterest to “pin” information about their various special units, history, and cold case information.  NYPD also has a site showing various pictures of special units, information on scams, and NYPD history.  Of note is their pin of NYPD Detective Mary Sullivan, the department’s first female detective in 1911.  That’s right, 1911.

Let’s face it; much of social media is braggadocios blather.  Most of us don’t care if you are or went to the Grand Canyon, let alone what you had for lunch, or how many likes you have.  But, show us something cool you’ve found, and we’re all over it (provided, of course, that it really is cool).

Bruce Bremer, MBA is LET’s technology contributor. Bruce retired from the Submarine Service after 21 years of in-depth experience with complex electronic technology. Lately, he is developing a corporate learning management system (Moodle LMS), curricula, and technical documentation for lighter-than-air tethered surveillance craft (aerostats). He has an extensive background in fleet modernization and military analysis. He teaches electronics and alternative energy at a Virginia college. Besides his MBA, Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer networking. He has been volunteering in public safety for many years.

To learn more:

http://www.pinterest.com/themercury/wanted-by-police/

http://www.npr.org/2014/05/03/309304647/police-turn-to-pinterest-to-fight-crime

http://mashable.com/2014/05/07/police-use-pinterest-crime/