Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police

For Blog 2 my topic is the bystander effect. This story of Kitty Genovese repeatedly appears in studies and is a horrific exmaple where a young women was stabbed to death, while 38 people did nothing. Here is the story of Kitty...

'It was just after 3 a.m. A red Fiat rolled slowly through the darkness into a parking space adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road station in Kew Gardens. The young woman behind the wheel emerged from the car and locked it. She began the 100-foot walk toward her apartment house at 82-70 Austin St. But then she spotted a man standing along her route. Apparently afraid, she changed direction and headed toward the intersection of Austin and Lefferts Boulevard -- where there was a police call box.

Suddenly, the man overtook her and grabbed her. She screamed. Residents of nearby apartment houses turned on their lights and threw open their windows. The woman screamed again: `Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me!''A man in a window shouted: ``Let that girl alone.'' The attacker walked away. Apartment lights went out and windows slammed shut.

The victim staggered toward her apartment. But the attacker returned and stabbed her again.``I'm dying!'' she cried.Windows opened again. The attacker entered a car and drove away. Windows closed, but the attacker soon came back again. His victim had crawled inside the front door of an apartment house at 82-62 Austin St. He found her sprawled on the floor and stabbed her still again. This time he killed her.'

'It was not until 3:50 that morning -- March 13, 1964 -- that a neighbor of the victim called police. Officers arrived two minutes later and found the body. They identified the victim as Catherine Genovese, 28, who had been returning from her job'

'Detectives investigating Genovese's murder discovered that no fewer than 38 of her neighbors had witnessed at least one of her killer's three attacks but had neither come to her aid nor called the police. The one call made to the police came after Genovese was already dead.'

'Today witnesses from the neighborhood, which is made up of one-family homes in the $35,000 to $60,000 range with the exception of the two apartment houses near the railroad station, find it difficult to explain why they didn't call the police.

A man peeked out from a slight opening in the doorway to his apartment and rattled off an account of the killer's second attack. Why hadn't he called the police at the time? "I was tired," he said without emotion. "I went back to bed."'

For more information on Kitty see the following websites: