How NYC’s Genovese Case, 50 Years Ago This Month, Led To 911 System


This month is the 50th anniversary of the Kitty Genovese murder in New York City, when supposedly 38 people witnessed the crime and did nothing. NPR interviews Kevin Cook, author of the new book, “Kitty Genovese: The Murder, The Bystanders, The Crime That Changed America.” Cook says the witness count is misleading. Although 38 people did see her attacked through their windows, “most of them could no longer see her after just a minute or two. When there was nothing left to see, they went to bed and there was then a second attack,” NPR says, quoting Cook.

One teen who lived across the street insists that his father did call the police but got no answer. There was no 911 system at the time. One of the sad quotes from the case was that of a wife who told her husband, “Thirty people must have called the police by now.” The 911 telephone system arose from the Kitty Genovese case and now if you lift a finger and call the police you can anonymously call in a tip and get a police car going to where it needs to be, says NPR.

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