Looking on: What makes a hero?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


On the morning of Thursday, May 24, Adam Mapleson witnessed two security guards being robbed at Rayleigh train station in Essex. Mr Mapleson rushed to help the guards and in the ensuing struggle was shot in the chest and seriously injured. The 24 year old was widely hailed as a hero both by the police and in the media, and his actions highlighted the phenomenon of the half-a-go hero. We have long known, though, that most people - if given a choice - do not attempt to intervene or respond to criminal acts. Understanding when people will intervene to prevent a crime and when they will stand by and do nothing, is an issue which has interested psychologists since the murder of Kitty Genovese in New York in 1964.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-25
Number of pages2
JournalPolice Review
Issue number5936
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • bystander intervention
  • have-a-go hero
  • Kitty Genovese
  • diffusion of responsibility

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