Murder of Kitty Genovese

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

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, that witness as 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 to not report a 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. Moseley died in prison on March 28, 2016.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Queens Woman Is Stabbed to Death in Front of Home". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company. 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: New York Times Company. 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. New York Times Company. p. B1. Retrieved July 5, 2007.
  5. Steven D. Levitt; Stephen J. Dubner (October 20, 2009). Superfreakonomics. William Morrow. ISBN 0060889578.