Why police departments are using Pinterest

dover police pinterest

Pinterest is mostly known for its audience of moms and hipsters.

But the hub of great ideas like homemade oreos, strawberry santas and dog halloween costumes is attracting new crowds -- including police.

The Dover Police Department launched a Pinterest page Monday. Currently, they have photographed and uploaded 33 pictures of lost and found items.

As an overwhelming amount of property is recovered, Corporal Mark Hoffman, the public information officer at Dover, said that it gets harder to reach out to people. As people move in and out of towns, either for festivals and concerts or permanently, it proves difficult to track them down. Especially since most people use cell phones that are not listed.

Their Pinterest page already has 333 followers but you do not need to have a Pinterest account to access the posts.

"One user followed our Facebook account. She went to our Pinterest page from our post, and spotted something her friend had lost. She then went back to the Facebook page and tagged her friend in a comment on the post saying 'Hey, I think they found your bag!'" Hoffman told CNNMoney.

While claiming items, people will have to produce one of more of the following: government issued ID, proof of residency and proof of purchase of item (receipt or serial number). For electronic items, people may have to log in to the device in front of a witness at the police department to reclaim it.

To maintain privacy, the department blurs out personal information in all forms of ID it displays with the recovered wallets. All 33 photos currently on the page took around half an hour to take photos of and another 20-30 minutes to edit combined.

"It seems like a lot of work but, to me, it's not. It's worth the effort to reunite people with their personal items," Dean Anderson, the evidence technician at the department, told CNNMoney. "You have personal IDs, kids' photographs, and you might find it personal and would like to have that stuff back."

Anderson added that in just two days of active use, they had already managed to return two items to their rightful owners.

The department is not following strict guidelines-- they plan to upload images as and when their jobs allow them to work on this additional feature.

What happens when items are not claimed? According to the Dover Police's practices, they intend to destroy the items after a year if they remain unclaimed.

Hoffman said the department chose Pinterest over other social media because of it's neat layout and it's easy to pin, unpin and delete items as they are claimed or disposed.

Dover Police isn't the first to use Pinterest as a tool to advertise its lost and found items. Mountain View, California, Dallas and State College, Pennsylvania Police Departments are a few others who do the same.

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