Plenty of people use Pinterest to find things like purses and posh hotels, but the rightful owner of a charm bracelet stolen 30 years ago? Leave that to the police,says NPR. When an officer in Redwood City, Ca., discovered bags of stolen jewelry in the trunk of a car during a routine traffic stop, Detective Dave Stahler turned to social media in hopes of tracking down the owner of a charm bracelet stamped with names and dates. Eight hours after posting on his department’s Facebook, Twitter, and the Pinterest page the agency launched in February, Stahler got information from three people who helped identify the owner of the bracelet.
This is the fourth person in the area to be reunited with their property via Pinterest. It’s a case of social media-savvy that stands out at a time when the use of digital tools to solve crimes and connect cops with their communities still varies widely. The International Association of Chiefs of Police Center for Social Media found that 92 percent of U.S. law enforcement agencies use Facebook, but adoption of other platforms not so much. More report using MySpace than Pinterest or Instagram. “It’s really all over the map still,” says Connected Cops’ Lauri Stevens, founder of a conference, consulting firm and news site on police use of social media. “There are a great many of them that are just coming along.” In Toronto, law enforcement officials live-stream their news conferences and post them online with the help of Google Hangouts on Air and YouTube. From Georgia to Pennsylvania, police are hosting “tweet-alongs” that allow citizens to follow them on the job via their Twitter accounts.