Local paper uses Pinterest to track down potential criminals

Pinterest is popular for sharing images on topics such as crafts, gifts, hobbies/leisure, interior design, and fashion designers/collections. But here’s a way to use Pinterest that I bet you didn’t think was possible. A local newspaper in Pennsylvania uses the site to find people who are wanted by the local policeThe Pottstown Mercury has created a board called Wanted by Police with mug shots of suspects. It also has descriptions of the suspected crime. Apparently local police say there has been a 58 percent increase in the number of arrests since the Pinterest site went live.

mugshots-pinterest wanted by police

While that all sounds nice, the paper (and in other instances, the police), must strike a balance between assisting the law enforcement and protecting the integrity of people who are not yet convicted of a crime. You might remember how the Manchester police in the UK outed convicted criminals on Flickr after the riots last year? There’s always a risk when individuals are publicly outed as criminals, or suspects, that things get out of hand. What responsibility does that paper have if one of these individuals are later acquitted in the court, but in the eyes of the public still seemed as guilty? I’m not saying that this is entirely a bad thing, but acts like these have to be thought through, carefully, or they might cause more harm than good.