The new “Wanted by Police” gallery on Pinterest is providing law enforcement with a unique tool to aid in the apprehension of criminals. The album was created by a crime reporter working for The Pottstown Mercury, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.
Captain F. Richard Drumheller, of the Pottstown Police Department, credits the new trend with a 57% increase in arrests. The small department has been receiving a high volume of calls with information leading to arrests. Some of the calls actually came from people turning themselves in after seeing the gallery on Pinterest.
Drumheller also praised the gallery for establishing a more positive rapport between the citizens of Pottstown and local law enforcement. Captain Drumheller stated that this makes their job as officers more enjoyable.
They have also been able to network with larger law enforcement agencies throughout Pennsylvania. The city of Pittsburgh has been utilizing social media to identify suspects for some time and has seen many positive results.
The gallery includes a disclaimer that all mugshots are provided by law enforcement officials. Drumheller points out that the list should not be considered a most wanted list. Presently there are approximately 80 people listed, all with outstanding warrants. Their crimes range from simple assault to more serious drug charges.
Lauri Steven, who specializes in social media consultation for law enforcement agencies, urges caution when utilizing social media. Stevens cites an incident involving a prosecutor in Texas who named numerous DUI suspects using Twitter. Although advising caution she admits that utilizing social media such a Pinterest will help circulate the information more effectively.