How it began

In 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was stabbed in New York outside the apartment building across the street from where she lived. Two weeks after the murder it was rumoured that 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack, but none of them called the police or came to her aid. This prompted inquiries into what became known as the bystander effect or "Genovese syndrome", and the murder became a staple of American psychology textbooks for the next four decades. It also motivated a community response and the very first Neighbourhood Watch scheme was set up.