30 Who Saw Murder and Didn't Call the Police

January 17, 2011
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In 1964, Catherine Genovese was stabbed to death on the way to her apartment in Kew Gardens, Queens, NY. This unexpected, lurid murder was committed by Winston Moseley, a man who admitted to killing two other people. What is unusual about this specific murder is that it took place in a residential area where many people could have called the police, yet chose not to.

At 3:20 AM, Genovese was stabbed for the first time. Bedroom lights turned on sporadically throughout the area and residents peered out, seemingly lax over the situation.

One yelled out, “Leave that girl alone!” Frightened, Moseley left the crime scene—only to return minutes later. A rash Moseley proceeded to stab Genovese a second time, and as time elapsed, a third time. It wasn’t until 3:50 AM that a resident of Genovese’s domicile finally called the police. When the police arrived at the scene, people began to come outside and find out what had happened only minutes earlier.

The residents were questioned meticulously, and the policemen were horrified at what they heard. The investigator made a conjecture that the crime could have been obviated if someone had called the police after the first, or even second, stabbing. Residents of Kew Gardens made excuses and even quipped about their nonchalance over the murder.

Catherine Genovese was not the loser in this situation; the residents of Kew Gardens were. Even in today’s society, people are self-centered, uninvolved, and “busy.” This is a revolting lapse in character, and people must recognize that a lapse in character can cost a life.

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