A Portland woman reported a rape and the suspect was quickly identified as a drifter with a violent criminal past. The Oregonian reports that authorities circulated his photo on a bulletin only to law enforcement, and warned that he was armed and should be considered dangerous. They never told the public. The man eventually was arrested and is in jail.
Portland police rarely publicize rape cases because they fear releasing any details could compromise investigations. Police Chief Rosie Sizer said officers must balance the benefit of alerting the public with the risk of letting an experienced criminal — who might destroy evidence — know that they’re searching for him. “What if the release of this information causes this guy to rabbit?” Sizer said. “We struggle with this kind of thing all of the time.” Local police agencies differ on how they issue alerts, and some say there may be ways to warn the public without compromising an investigation. One said officers can tell the public there has been a rape in a particular neighborhood while keeping details of the crime and the suspect confidential.