Here’s a reason to feel cheerful – the world is full of Good Samaritans

good coffee

(Nathan Lemon, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kate Whiting, Senior Writer, Formative Content


While some cities are experimenting with smart ways to tackle crime, a new study has found a more old-fashioned method is still proving effective in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and South Africa.

Citizens are stepping in to help victims and see off those who start fights in public, according to researchers, who studied hours of CCTV footage from inner-city areas in Lancaster, Amsterdam and Cape Town.

In 91% of cases, at least one bystander intervened to break up an aggressive argument or assault by either blocking or pulling the aggressor away, gesturing for them to calm down, or consoling the victim.

Image: Lancaster University

Psychologist and the study’s lead author, Dr Richard Philpot, said the team’s findings overturned the conventional wisdom that, in emergencies, bystanders do nothing.

“The fact that bystanders are much more active than we think is a positive and reassuring story for potential victims of violence and the public as a whole. We need to develop crime prevention efforts which build on the willingness of bystanders to intervene.”

The ‘bystander effect’

The study looked at 219 video recordings of arguments and assaults and found that, contrary to the “bystander effect” theory – which suggests people are less likely to step in to help if others are present – victims were actually more likely to be helped when there were more bystanders present.

Rates of intervention were the same across all three cities, even though Cape Town’s inner city was perceived to be less safe.

The researchers concluded: “We argue that it is time for psychology to change the narrative away from an absence of help and toward a new understanding of what makes intervention successful or unsuccessful.”

The global picture

The differences in the definitions of specific crimes, the level of reporting, and other social and economic factors make gauging global levels of violent crimedifficult. For this reason, homicide rates are often considered among the most reliable indicators of long-term trends in violence.

The global homicide rate, measured as victims per 100,000 people, fell from 7.2 in 1992, to 6.1 in 2017, according to the UN’s latest Global Study on Homicide. This is in part due to population growth rising faster than the reporting of these crimes.

There are also big regional variations, with the rate in the Americas in 2017 (17.2) being the highest recorded in the region since reliable records began in 1990. Rates in Asia, Europe and Oceania were below the global average.

Finding solutions

While many will welcome the news that people are willing to step in to help victims, governments and authorities are under pressure to find concrete ways to tackle the problem and prevent crimes from happening.

Measures such as increased police powers, funding to support victims and strategies designed to steer young people away from crime have been announced by the UK government, for example.

The World Health Organization says addressing the issue on multiple levels in many sectors of society is required – including creating healthy family environments, solving problems in schools, workplaces and neighbourhoods, and tackling wealth inequality.

And some are suggesting looking at violent crime in a different way altogether. The charity Cure Violence is working to try to stop the spread of violence by using methods usually associated with disease control. Its model has been used in cities around the world, from New York and Chicago, to San Pedro Sula in Honduras and Cape Town.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Brain drain 2017: why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

‘Internal security’ or how to compromise citizens’ rights and also make huge profits

How can entrepreneurship tackle the migration crisis in the EU?

Vegetarianism is good for the economy too

Misinformation and growing distrust on vaccines, ‘dangerous as a disease’ says UNICEF chief

We have the tools to beat climate change. Now we need to legislate

Latest tragedy in the Mediterranean claims over 100 lives – UN refugee agency

European Youth Forum on Summit on Jobs and Growth

Why is Grexit again in the news? Who is to pay for Eurozone’s banking problems?

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

To achieve the Great Reset, we will need more than just the actions of the powerful

Migration policy affects attractiveness of OECD countries to international talent

6 charts that show how Japan’s economy stacks up as it enters a new era

MEPs want to boost energy storage in the EU to help spur decarbonisation

DR Congo President and UN chief meet at a ‘historic moment’ for democracy in the country

EU budget: Commission proposes €1.26 billion to reinforce the European Solidarity Corps

Strengthen inclusion, participation of people with autism to ‘achieve their full potential’ says UN chief

Italian banks: It’s Rome’s turn to confront Berlin’s aggressiveness

Draghi strives to control the unruly exploitation of financial markets by banking leviathans

Eurozone: How safe are our deposits? Which banks will survive?

Europe enters uncharted waters with Kiev-Moscow standoff

Stakeholder capitalism is urgently needed – and the COVID-19 crisis shows us why

Growing up near green space is good for your mental health as an adult

Here’s how data could make our cities safer

New York and London mayors call on cities to divest from fossil fuels

‘Climate change is the battle of my life’, UN chief tells students living on the frontline in Fiji

UN chief ‘deeply saddened’ by Ethiopia plane crash which killed 157, including at least 21 UN workers

What little Cameron got in Brussels seems enough to keep Britain in the EU

Thailand gave healthcare to its entire population and the results were dramatic

Finland should do more to improve job prospects of low-skilled youth

Syria: Civilians caught in crossfire, UN refugee chief urges Jordan to open its border

5 steps businesses can take to protect air quality after COVID-19

One third of poorer countries face both undernutrition and obesity: WHO report

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

What matters most to young Europeans?

Only the Americans are unhappy with the ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine

Greece begins a new chapter following the conclusion of its stability support programme

ECB’s new money bonanza handed out to help the real economy or create new bubbles?

Digitalization is changing banking – These 3 trends will help shape its future

G20 LIVE: G20 Antalya Summit in Numbers, 15-16 November 2015

Amidst ‘high political tension’, UN chief appeals to G20 leaders for stronger commitment to climate action, economic cooperation

Air pollution, the ‘silent killer’ that claims seven million lives a year: rights council hears

How banking with blockchain can stamp out corruption and increase financial inclusion

Does the Erasmus program really contribute to the construction of a solid EU identity?

Why CEOs need to become activists in sustainability

The European Commission to stop Buffering

Tools of asset development: Renewable Energy Projects case

The blackened white coat of the doctors

UN says ‘many humanitarian achievements’, one year after ouster of ISIL from Mosul

Brexit must not put UK university research at risk

Volkswagen getting away with it in Europe

Energy: EU funding for priority projects should reflect 2050 climate objectives

Healthy habits to help you cope with health anxiety

‘End the ongoing atrocities’ against people with albinism in Malawi, say UN rights experts

How building renovations can speed up the electric vehicle revolution

The relation of deforestation and respiratory diseases

Deutsche Bank chased away from US, threatened with more fines

What does strategy have to do with a platform approach?

International Criminal Court acquits former president Gbagbo of war crimes in Côte d’Ivoire

How emerging markets will shape Africa in 2020

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s