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12/07/2012 06:27 pm ET Updated Dec 08, 2012

Mug Shots On Pinterest Help Local Pennsylvania Police Catch Criminals (VIDEO)

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Pinterest, the virtual pinboard widely known for its users' celebration of lavish nail art and mouth-watering food, is now reportedly being used for a far more somber purpose.

According to reports, some Pennsylvania police have taken to the content-sharing site to catch suspected criminals -- and the new tactic is apparently proving to be quite a success.

“We’ve actually seen a 57 percent increase in our [arrests], and we actually got more people based on our tips and our calls,” Capt. Richard Drumheller at the Pottstown Police Department told NPR. “For us it’s like, ‘Yes,’ because it’s very enjoyable in police work when the public helps you.”

As Slate notes, the Pinterest crackdown in Pottstown, Penn., began after a reporter at local newspaper The Mercury came up with the idea to start a Pinterest gallery of mug shots of people wanted by the police. Immediately, Drumheller said, calls started pouring in to the police tip line.

NPR writes:

Pottstown [police have] a couple of dozen photos up [on its Pinterest board] at a time, all people with outstanding warrants -- from DUI to theft to assault. Drumheller says some people even called to say they had seen their own mug shot online and asked how to turn themselves in to authorities.

"Yeah, it's funny how you act sometimes when people know what your business is," Drumheller says.

Pottstown police aren't the only cops in Pennsylvania who have jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon.

Police in nearby Philadelphia, who have been using social media as a crime-busting tool for quite some time now, have reportedly started "pinning perps" through Pinterest as well.

According to CBS News, the Philadelphia Police Department has been inspired by Pottstown's Pinterest success and has created boards of its own.

In addition to individuals suspected of robbery, sexual assault and other crimes, the Philadelphia police also have pins of missing people on their Pinterest boards.

However, though some social media experts say that Pinterest has the potential of being a helpful law enforcement tool, the mug shot pinboards may not sit well with some.

Last year, when the Portland Police Department posted photos of arrested Occupy Portland protestors to Facebook, a number of people expressed that they were uncomfortable with the idea of Facebook and other forms of social media being used to share mug shots, ViralBlog.com notes.

Clever or creepy? What do you think of Pinterest mug shots?

(h/t: Next Web)

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