Tag Archives: bystander effect

The Bystander Effect

The bystander effect is a pretty crazy phenomenon and stupid at the same time. For those of you not familiar with the term, the bystander effect is when people don’t offer any assistance to the victim when other people are present because they think someone else will help. The reason I think it’s stupid is because how can you walk pass someone bleeding on the sidewalk and not do anything?! AND expecting people to do something when you’re all doing the same thing?! It makes no sense to me. Why am I blogging about a psychology term you ask? Because it happened. And no I was not the victim nor was I a bystander. I was the one who called the police because it’s what I’m supposed to do! I learned all about the bystander effect in college and the most well-known case about the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964. When she was stabbed multiple times and NONE of her neighbors called the police even though they heard her screaming. Don’t be that neighbor.

I never thought my neighborhood would fall into the category of the bystander effect but it does. Early in the morning I heard a man yelling for help and to call the police. I got out of bed and looked out the window but didn’t see anything. I decided to call anyway, just in case. I never want to be the person that doesn’t call just because they don’t see anything. The police showed up a few minutes later and searched the surrounding areas but I guess they didn’t find anything (hopefully that’s good news) so they left. The reason why I’m stating that my neighborhood falls into this category is because there’s absolutely NO way people didn’t hear this guy. I heard him loud and clear. It wasn’t a “did you hear that?” type of thing. It was a “oh shit, what the hell is going on outside?” type of thing. That and I know my neighbors. They’re always up at late hours of the night and some even throw parties into the early morning hours. Yet, NO ONE called. I spoke to an officer and I told him I know it’s not much to go on considering I didn’t see a thing but I want to make sure that if something did happen then that person got help. He assured me that I did the right thing by calling and hopefully no one got hurt.

I say hopefully as a loose term. The direction of the yelling is on the street where there are some “rotten apples.” I’ll leave it at that. The officer and I knew full well that shit could have went down because every time something happens, it’s on that street. They’ve cornered off the street to look for bad guys. They’ve had helicopters hoovering above to look for bad guys. You get my drift. I’m not the type of person who calls the police for everything. There have been times that I wanted to (noise complants) but I didn’t. I do so in emergencies such as what happened or if someone got hurt. Not that I want to discourage anyone from calling if they felt compelled to do so. It’s my general rule of thumb. My mom freaked out because there were a ton of cop cars on our street and the surrounding streets. Sorry mama!

Fail Sweetly,