KANSAS CITY, Mo. - While many people use Pinterest to browse new recipes, plan events or get inspired to redecorate, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department uses it to fight crime and connect with the community.
“With all the different social media websites out there, we thought, ‘Just put out a different social media site and reach a different audience,” said Lynsay Holst, public relations specialist with KCPD.
Holst launched the KCPD Pinterest page two years ago. At the time, she said she believes they were the only police department on the site.
“When we started this, I searched and searched and couldn't find one police department out there,” she said.
Holst tries to post a few times a week, mostly focusing pictures and videos. KCPD has 44 boards and nearly 1400 pins.
They range from human interest pins to crime-related pins.
“We just try to pin different things to try to humanize the police department,” said Holst. “We put tips, we put how to identify street drugs and paraphernalia.”
Holst said parents can benefit by following the "Street Drugs and Paraphernalia" board because it teaches them about drugs that may be in their childrens’ rooms.
“We could put out a picture of something a mom could find in a kid’s room and may not realize that's something that they could be smoking,” said Holst.
She also pins about unsolved crimes and surveillance videos from scenes of crimes.
Though, she admits, the more light-hearted posts get more attention. The most popular board is KCPD Fuzzy Friends, which highlights the different animals that work or hang out with officers on the job.
“People, at first, question it and are like why would the police department be on Pinterest,” she laughed. “But once they get on there, they realize it is a good tool.”
Sarah Boyd runs KCPD’s Twitter and Facebook pages. She said as more people have a presence online, it’s important that the department connect with them there.
“It's crucial because we need to be where the people are and building relationships however we can and more and more that's online,” Boyd said. “When they build those relationships with us, online or elsewhere, they trust us and when they trust us, they help us prevent crime and they help us solve crime.”