We’ve reported previously on this blog about the devastating results that can occur from a combination of misinformation from a Crime Stoppers tip and police tunnel vision. See that posting here.
Here’s another example of how that happens. In Dallas, Alan Mason was publicly identified as a “person of interest” in a series of rapes in south Dallas. This was based upon an anonymous, non-specific Crime Stoppers tip.
Alan Mason was not officially named as a ‘suspect,’ but his picture and name were made public as a ‘person of interest.’ Another man was subsequently linked by DNA to four of the rapes, and was named a suspect. Mason has been cleared of involvement in the rapes, and is no longer a ‘person of interest.’ Clearly, the Crime Stopper’s tip was bogus. If Mason was only a ‘person of interest,’ why was it necessary to make that public before it could be confirmed?
There is absolutely no control over the quality or the veracity of the information that comes into Crime Stoppers; nor is there any knowledge of the motivation of the informant. We can only hope that the police sort it out correctly, and don’t jump to tunnel vision conclusions; including making premature public statements. Thankfully, this case did not result in an innocent person being convicted and incarcerated.