So I’ve been thinking about a way to disprove the bystander effect or find another explanation for the Kitty Genovese Murder and I have an idea. I’ve only been thinking about it for the 90 minutes so bear with me. There are already some criticisms to attributing the lack of response from bystanders solely to the bystander effect. The news papers reported that 37 or 38 watched her murder. It also implies that they could easily see what was happening. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/insider/1964-how-many-witnessed-the-murder-of-kitty-genovese.html?_r=0. This article claims the number was more like 6. It also says that the witnesses only say parts of the attack. It is likely they didn’t fully understand what was going on. Kitty also crawled out of view to an unlit alley. They witnesses wouldn’t be able to see her there.
This article says that someone did call the cops.. He told the dispatcher that a woman was beaten and was staggering. More than enough for a cop to come and help. The cop never showed up.
I was wondering if the people might have been reluctant or even afraid to call the cops.
It has been shown that crime statistics can be misleading. http://criminology.regis.edu/criminology-programs/resources/crim-articles/are-you-really-that-safe
The relationship that the community has with the cops greatly influences that amount of unreported crime in that community. This community might not have had the best relationship with the cops. There was wide spread corruption in the police departments in New York. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/what-frank-serpico-started-the-knapp-commission-report-6663567. The witnesses could have been afraid of the cops.
The timing of the murder also affected the witnesses. It happened at 3 am. They were woken up and were likely sleep deprived. This study shows that when people are sleep deprived they have significantly less empathy than when they are well rested.
Combining all of these factors makes the bystander effect less relevant to the murder.