EDMONTON – The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) launched a Pinterest page on Wednesday as a tool to return stolen property to the rightful owners.
“We wanted to give the public another way to help reunite people with their stolen items, some of which could be family heirlooms that have not only monetary worth to citizens, but sentimental value as well,” said Carolin Maran, the EPS web and social media coordinator.
Officers will post unique items that are seized on the EPS Pinterest site where people can look through them and email police to claim the item if it belongs to them.
“Investigators on the other end will then go through these emails,” explained Maran. “Those emails that have specific details will receive a response, and those that do not will also receive a response indicating that more information may be required.
Anyone trying to claim a stolen item will be asked to provide specific, identifying characteristics of their item, or proof of ownership.
“Different items will be appearing on the page as I’m contacted by investigators who are interested in posting information here, and of course, if items are returned to their rightful owners, they’ll be removed from the Pinterest page,” Maran added.
Click here to visit the EPS’ Pinterest page.
The board posting photos of stolen goods is called “Missing Something?”
The EPS decided to join Pinterest after the largest seizure of stolen property in its history. The seizure led to the arrest of 34-year-old Jason Schell, who is facing more than 200 theft and weapon-related charges.
“EPS seized thousands of pieces of property in a historic property seizure arrest,” explained EPS spokesperson Scott Pattison.
A wide variety of items were seized, including several taxidermy products, like an ostrich egg, and a bathtub and kitchen sink.
“Many of these items have yet to be returned or claimed to original owners, so it got EPS staff thinking about how we could best improve the process and we decided this was the impetus to the launch of Pinterest, an EPS Pinterest site.”
“We’re going to give it a try over time and monitor the results and feedback,” added Maran.
The EPS is not the first police department to use Pinterest in this way. The Kansas City Missouri Police Department is believed to be the first in the United States to join the social media site.
There are nearly 4 million Pinterest users in Canada.
According to the PEW Research Centre, women are five times more likely than men to use Pinterest. And a study by agency Modea found the majority of Pinterest users are female parents, and 28 per cent have a household income of more than $100,000.
The EPS sees this latest foray into social media as another way to reach Edmontonians and help resolve crimes.
“What we basically hope to do is provide another option to members of the public to go online at their convenience and possibly spot items that were theirs so we can reunite often valuable items… with that family,” said Pattison, “not just items of monetary value, but things that are really treasured pieces of their family history and get them back to them.”