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Police Turn To Pinterest To Fight Crime



It's time now for the New and the Next.


RATH: Carlos Watson is the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. Each week he joins us to talk about what's new and what's next. Welcome back, Carlos.

CARLOS WATSON: Arun, good to be back. Good to have you back.

RATH: Yeah, it's good to be back. So, increasingly we're being told that to be good at your job, you need to proficient with social media, which makes sense for people like us, you know, in the media, or if your selling something. But it's also turned into a useful tool for local police. Tell us about that.

WATSON: For years, police have been Facebook and Twitter, but they're now using Pinterest. Lots of folks think of Pinterest as a site that lots of women use to discover cool purses, you know, hotels, maybe even food recipes. Kind of your own digital scrapbook.

And so some of the police realized that they could use those, for example, finding stolen jewelry. They could put that up in order to find the owner and find out that this jewelry was stolen 30 years ago and not even in the city in which it was posted. Or believe it or not, they're not putting them on the mug shots of various criminals who are on the loose and getting tips that way.

RATH: So not just stolen goods, but all sorts of crime, even violent crime.

WATSON: Very much so. And in fact, they've solved murders.

RATH: Wow.

WATSON: Sexual assault cases have been advanced. So it's becoming a more important tool in lots of local law enforcement offices.

RATH: Wow. And there's something surprising in your piece. It was according to a study last fall. Apparently, more police report using MySpace than Pinterest or Instagram.

WATSON: Isn't that kind of crazy. I assume that that's one of those things on the move. So, you know, 92 percent of the police are using Facebook, but not that many have been using Pinterest. But now, almost 100 local police departments across the country has successfully used these in solving crimes. And so I expect that that's going to grow pretty significantly.

RATH: Interesting. So next up, now apparently you can make an omelet without breaking eggs, at least according to a food inventor. Tell us about the man who wants to take us beyond eggs.

WATSON: Two good buddies, Josh Tetrick and his best friend teamed up. Both were working in humanitarian ways and realized that there are almost 2 trillion eggs that are laid every year, but 70 percent of the cost of those eggs go to feeding the chickens and often cooping them up in what are seen by some as not the most humane ways. And so they said, is there a way that you can effectively create an artificial egg?

RATH: Cut the chicken out of the process.

WATSON: Cut the chicken out of the process and use different plants. With the help of some expert chefs and some incredible biochemists, they actually have come up with an eggless egg.

RATH: Now, there have been egg substitutes around for a while, but I think it's safe to say for most people, they really kind of fall short of what we'd expect from an egg. Are all these experts going to be able to fix that problem with this version?

WATSON: You know, they believe they have. And in fact, a handful of the most famous folks in the world have invested almost $30 million in this company saying that they think these folks have finally figured out how to take the idea of an eggless egg beyond just kind of the small vegan community.

And so now, not only their eggless egg product, but their egg-free mayo, which is called Just Mayo is being sold not just at Whole Foods but at Safeway, even at some Costcos.

RATH: Hah. Now, I guess they must be doing something right, because they're getting some pushback from the egg industry, the regular egg industry.

WATSON: The phase that the regular egg industry is using is except no substitute. You know, there's a lot of hesitation out there among consumers at least, so it's interesting to see this three year old company, Hampton Creek, begin to have such an impact at big retailers.

RATH: Wow. Carlos Watson is the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. You can explore all the stories we talked about at Carlos, thanks again.

WATSON: Arun, good to be with you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carlos Watson
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