Pinterest
Pinterest is increasingly being used by police to share information with the community on lost and found itemsReuters

Police departments are turning to Pinterest in a bid to piggyback on social networking and return lost and found items.

The scrapbook website, more popular among youth and housewives, is stepping in to help spread the word where police find the going tough, especially in tracking down people.

The Dover Police Department in Delaware is the latest to launch a Pinterest page early this week.

In four days the force had photographed and uploaded 33 pictures of lost and found items.
The page already has 333 followers.

"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!'" Corporal Mark Hoffman, the public information officer at Dover, told CNN Money.

Pinterest was chosen for its ease of use and neat layout that allows easy pinning and unpinning of items, said Hoffman.

All that a claimant has to produce to take away the lost item is a government issued ID, or proof of residency and proof of purchase of the item.

For electronic items, people may have to log in to the device in front of a witness.

The recovered items are displayed on the page after blurring out any personal information.

Other police departments are also using Pinterest to advertise lost and found items.

Community policing calls for an effective partnership with the community and for this the police needs to talk and listen, writes CSM.

With surveys showing that 95% police agencies use social media like Facebook and Twitter for investigations, it is easy for community members to contribute not only in item recovery, but in criminal investigations as well.

"The promise of social media for policing is not to transform or add to the work of law enforcement but to emphasize the deep connection with the community that has always been the focus of good police work," wrote the authors of a 2014 Harvard Kennedy School study when looking at the Boston police social media response to the bombings.

The trust levels between public and police were already good then, unlike the present scenario following police brutality against blacks.

Pinterest is a free website that can be used as a personalised media platform with most of the content driven by visuals. Users can upload, save, sort, and manage images in collections known as pinboards, but will have to first register to use the site.