And Then He Pinned Me

Cops Now Pinning Mugshots to Pinterest Because the Police Can Be Aspirational Too

"'How do I use it to arrest people?'”

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Few social networks are as adroit at triggering man’s aspirational impulse as Pinterest. Of course, different people covet different things. In the case of police departments in fourteen cities–including Pottstown, Penn., Kansas City, Mo. and now Philadelphia–Buzzfeed reports that cops are using Pinterest to advertise what want to catch: criminals.

Their methods have been effective. Commenters are responding with times and dates of last sightings and Pottstown reports that its Pinterest page led to a 57 percent increase in arrests.

Philadelphia Police Department corporal Frank Domizio told Buzzfeed:

“It’s a marketing thing,” said Domizio, who runs the department’s social media channels. “People are doing this to sell shampoo, so my question is, ‘How do I use it to arrest people?’”

Of course, some of those marketing efforts also benefit the police department’s brand, so to speak. Sarah Boyd, a spokesperson for Kansas City, Missouri’s police department told Buzzfeed:

“The success is not just in solving specific crimes,” says Boyd. “It makes them trust us more, which makes them more likely to cooperate we us.” In other words, it’s classic community outreach.

That’s Pinterest, always try to sell you something.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com