Edmonton police are hoping if they ‘pin it,’ citizens can recover their stolen items.
As stated in a tweet posted by Edmonton Police on Monday, the local police force will use Pinterest to “return items to their rightful owners.”
Pinterest users “pin” and share photos they like, a social media site which has worked well for other North American police forces.
The Kansas City Missouri Police Department—the first police detachment in the United States to turn to the social media site— uses the website to spread police information with Pinterest’s primarily female demographic.
“We thought it would make [officers] a lot more accessible and friendly,” said Sarah Boyd, public relations specialist with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. “People use Pinterest for DIY [Do It Yourself] tips around your house, well here’s DIY tips on not to get robbed.”
But local social media experts aren’t sold on Pinterest’s effectiveness involving crime and the general public.
“If I’m going to check Pinterest for the theft of my stuff, A) I have to be motivated to find the stuff B) I need to have the ability to access Pinterest C) I need a trigger to drive me to the Pinterest site itself. I don’t know how many people have that trigger,” said Ray Bilodeau, a marketing instructor with NAIT.
According to a July Semiocast social media report, Pinterest has 70 million users, 79 per cent of those in the U.S., with just under four million of those from Canada. A Mashable.com article states that 68.2 per cent of Pinterest users are female.
Edmonton Police did not provide a comment on details for the site prior to the official launch later this week.
Calgary police are also looking at turning to Pinterest and photo-sharing website Flickr for 2014.
Although a new venture for some police forces, social media experts say it’s a good way to further lines of communication.
“The reality is that at least they’re trying new methods, new ways to help people get their goods recovered,” said Bilodeau.