The Murder of Kitty Genovese and The Bystander Effect

Catherine “Kitty” Genovese, a New York City woman who was stabbed to death near her home in the Kew Gardens section of Queens, New York on March 13, 1964.

Genovese was buried in a family grave at Lakeview Cemetery in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The circumstances of her murder and the supposed lack of reaction of numerous neighbors were reported by a newspaper article published two weeks later; the common portrayal of neighbors being fully aware but completely nonresponsive has later been criticized as inaccurate. Nonetheless, it prompted an investigation into the social psychological phenomenon that has become known as the bystander effect (seldom: “Genovese syndrome”) and especially diffusion of responsibility.