Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. J. S. Butler

Executive Summary

Kitty Genovese’s case in 1964 remains the classic example in discussions of bystander intervention. In recent years, people heard similar cases where bystanders act indifferently or are slow to report the crime. This made me ask the research question of this Capstone: What factors are associated with intervention by bystanders?

The data set I used here is the incident data file from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data, which covers the years 1992-2013. I pulled out 11 explanatory variables including victim characteristics, offender characteristics, and external/environmental factors. I used a regression model with robust standard errors to examine the multi-variate relations between the dependent variable and explanatory variables.

The results of my regression model indicate that after controlling the impacts from other explanatory variables, victim household income, incident time and whether the offender had the right to be at the criminal site were significant factors relating to bystander intervention. Victims with a household income larger than $75,000 were more likely to receive bystander intervention. If the offender had no right to be in the crime site, the victim was more likely to get bystander intervention compared to offenders who had right to be in the crime site. In addition, if the crime happened in daytime, it was likely for victims to receive help.

Women are attacked more often; however, this does not motivate more bystander intervention. There are programs and media campaigns that have paid some attention to this social problem in recent years, but still, more things need to be done by authorities.