Created By: henke37 on May 23, 2012

Crowd saw nothing

Lot's of witnesses, none who saw anything

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Needs a Better Title - Up for Grabs

Sometimes illegal stuff happens in the middle of a crowd. You'd think that there would be dozens of people who saw what happened. But when the authorities ask, no one saw anything.

Examples:
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • May 23, 2012
    reub2000
    • On Scrubs Dr. Cox punches Dr. Kelso in a crowded room. No witnesses come forward because they despise Dr. Kelso.
  • May 23, 2012
    Koveras
    • A staple in the Assassins Creed series. Crowds are ideal to get close to unaware targets and kill them with the concealed blade. However, when the guards discover the body, no passerby would ever be able to report the murderer (you).
  • May 23, 2012
    Ryuuma
    Sadly, was (and sometimes still is) Truth In Television in Sicily and in other regions where the mafia is powerful, and people are reluctant to speak even when they witness a crime. Also known as "Nenti vidi Nenti saccio" (roughly I didn't see (anything) and I don't know (anything)).
  • May 23, 2012
    nitrokitty
    In Real Life, this is referred to as the "bystander effect." The most famous case is Kitty Genovese, who was murdered in front of a large number of witnesses yet nobody called the police.
  • May 23, 2012
    kreature
  • May 23, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^^That is SO not true - the anecdote that is. It's propaganda plain and simple.
  • May 23, 2012
    HMSaph
    • Twilight: When Edward saves Bella from the car crash, there were lots of witnesses who reacted to the incident. Afterwards, however, the book acted as though none of the hundreds of witnesses had seen anything, though this was more likely due to bad writing.
  • May 23, 2012
    IronLion
  • May 23, 2012
    WackyMeetsPractical
    For clarification, is this about when a crowd of people don't notice the illegal thing happening, are incapable of seeing the illegal thing happening, refuses to speak up for whatever reason, or all of those?

    Also, "That one episode in CSI" is not descriptive enough for those of us who haven't seen any episode of CSI.
  • May 23, 2012
    Bisected8
    @randomsurfer: The case of Kitty Genovase is propoganda? O_o
  • May 23, 2012
    chicagomel
    I believe it was CSI season 11...the victim was shot during a party or gathering of some kind, and no one would talk. I believe the killer may have turned out to be the boy the team had to try and get to open up about what happened. I just can't recall the title.

  • May 23, 2012
    Boston
    Related to "Stop Snitchin'"?
  • May 23, 2012
    randomsurfer
    @Bisected8: the alleged "facts" that a bunch of people watched her get murdered, and that nobody called the police, is propaganda.
  • May 24, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ ^^^^ There's an analysis of the murder of Kitty Genovese on The Other Wiki you could look at for more information
  • May 24, 2012
    LordGro
    Also, I gather that "watching a crime but doing nothing" isn't necessarily this trope.

    Maybe some expansion on the description?

    "The reasons for this (which often will only be revealed later, or not at all) can be any of, or a mixture of the following:
    • The witnesses fear blame or punishment for not hindering the crime.
    • A powerful organization is responsible for the crime, and the witnesses fear their retribution, should they cooperate with the police.
    • The witnesses are involved in illegal activities themselves and don't want the authorities sniffing around.
    • The witnesses belong to a group or subculture that generally just doesn't cooperate with authorities."
  • May 24, 2012
    StevenT
    • In the first episode of Mission Hill, Andy's Bad Boss tells his employees they'll all be working overtime, so Andy barricades him in his office.
      Andy: Now, just so we're clear, nobody saw anything. Right?
      Everyone else: Right!
      (Everyone runs out)
  • May 24, 2012
    Bisected8
    @randomsurfer: That's not what propoganda means. Unless you're claiming someone made the case up or exagerated the facts specifically in order to manipulate public opinion, which seems unlikely.
  • May 24, 2012
    Earnest
    Late in The Twelve Kingdoms, a blind child is run over by a corrupt provincial lord. Because he frequently enjoys The Most Dangerous Game, no one dares to speak up. However, La Resistance does take note.
  • May 24, 2012
    randomsurfer
    @Bisected8: According to this NPR report, that's exactly what happened.

    ETA: The facts being exaggerated that is. Not the case being made up.
  • May 24, 2012
    TrustBen
    On the Homicide Life On The Street episode "Happy to Be Here", a friend of Gee's who's also an anti-gang activist is murdered in a crowded restaurant. All the patrons make it very clear that they saw nothing.
  • May 24, 2012
    thewriter
    Real Life: Tupac was shot in the middle of a crowd while in Las Vegas, the crime is still unsolved.
  • May 24, 2012
    nielas
    Is this about cases where the witnesses really did not see what happened due to confusion or misdirection? Or is this strictly about witnesses who know what happened but refuse to come forward?

    • In an episode of Unforgettable the detectives are called in to a murder scene where there is a larger crowd of onlookers watching the police process the evidence. Suddenly shots are fired and more people end up dead. After this no witnesses come forward to talk about either shooting. However, the dozen police officers present during the second shooting also can't remember seeing the shooters so it is fair to say that most of the witnesses really did not see what happened.
  • May 24, 2012
    StevenT
    • The Boondocks episode "Thank You for Not Snitching" references the Tupac example.
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