Murder of Kitty Genovese

1964 murder in New York City, associated with the bystander effect

On March 13, 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was mugged and stabbed to death outside her apartment building on Austin Street, in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens in New York City, United States.[1][2][3]

A mugshot of Genovese in 1961

Two weeks after the murder, The New York Times published an article claiming that 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack, and that none of them called the police or came to her aid, apart from her neighbour Sophia Farrar.

The incident was the bystander effect or "Genovese syndrome,"[4] and the murder became a well known example of U.S. psychology textbooks. Genovese syndrome is when witnesses to a crime do not report the crime because they are scared and they believe that others will report it instead, which in the end they do not and the crime goes unreported.

However, this is not really what happened. Police interviews showed that the other people nearby either attempted to call the police or were afraid to be involved. This was before calling 911 was easy to do in the United States. Because Genovese was killed late at night, many of the people nearby were asleep. Some of the people who saw the attack also saw Genovese get up and walk away, so they did not think she had been badly hurt.[5]

Winston Moseley, a 29-year-old man from Manhattan, was arrested during a house burglary six days after the murder. While in custody, he confessed to killing Genovese. At his trial, Moseley was found guilty. He died in prison on March 28, 2016.

References change

  1. "Queens Woman Is Stabbed to Death in Front of Home". The New York Times. New York City. March 14, 1964. p. 26. Retrieved July 5, 2007.
  2. Thomas, Kristin (June 8, 2018). "The murder of "Kitty" Genovese that led to the Bystander Effect". Vintage News. Retrieved August 6, 2019. She parked her car and started walking towards her apartment building, when she noticed a man standing at the corner end of the parking lot. Genovese nervously kept walking. Moseley had caught up to her, close to her apartment building, when he took his first stab.
  3. Kilgannon, Corey (April 6, 2016). "Queens Neighborhood Still Haunted by Kitty Genovese's Murder". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved August 6, 2019. When Ms. Genovese, 28, was raped and murdered on her way home to her apartment.
  4. Dowd, Maureen (March 12, 1984). "20 years after the murder of Kitty Genovese, The question remains: Why?". The New York Times. p. B1. Retrieved July 5, 2007.
  5. Steven D. Levitt; Stephen J. Dubner (October 20, 2009). Superfreakonomics. William Morrow. ISBN 978-0060889579.