Catherine (Kitty) Genovese's story has been shocking people who first hear of it since it happened, or rather, ended, on March 13th, 1964. For over 50 years now it has become the public-conscious' starkest example of the negative impact of apathy on the scale of society, and perhaps in centuries to come the exact facts will be forgotten and parents will go about warning their children from the harm of not speaking up by telling the story of how a demon of silence kills their cats. For now though, the facts are still quite clear, and the results are shocking. That is, until we think about them.
Group apathy, or, "the bystander effect" as it has been termed, is an effect that as appalling as it may seem, can be completely understood when one just takes a step back and looks at the bigger picture. The human brain, as amazing as it is, is still just that, a brain. One that like all other organically evolved brains, arose principally to process information taken in by sense structures, and, on the macro scale, tell the various structures of the body to act in accordance with the basic needs of self-preservation and reproduction. In humans, and some other animals, it just so happens that at some point in evolutionary history a sufficient and particular complex pattern of the cells that make the human-animal's brain, formed in such a way to not only meet those needs but to develop the ability to form abstract thought and creativity. As a result, we became able to pick up a rock, call it hammer, and build cities. These new traits allowed us to evolve at a much faster rate than the shackles of the slow trial and error system that biological evolution allows for. Unfortunately, but not at all surprisingly, the organic matter of our brains has not been able to keep up with the inorganic matter we move with our hands. After all, I challenge you to not notice how much more hesitant you would be to build a house if we used our hands as hammers instead of hammers themselves.
Enter now our social structures, and we find the same thing. They organically evolved from unique patterns of more basic parts. The result of which is that those parts, us, are simply not given towards expressions of heroic empathy for one specific part of what is in truth a larger entity. Especially at the cost of any "heroic" entities' own life. It turns out, that just like our brains still control us to preserve our bodies, so to do individuals seek to preserve the "social bodies" they are a part of. Looking at it this way, it is perfectly understandable why people such as Robert Mozer would end their attempts at interference at nothing more than shouting at the aggressor.
The lesson to be learned here is simple, and in fact, so intrinsically and naturally known that it emerges in the media of our minds as expressions of trite cliché. We are individuals. Our cities and their social foundations are as well. They, like individual people, develop characteristics all their own, food preferences, musical taste, intelligence levels, etc. Once we accept this, and turn it inwards to our own lives it will become much easier to treat each other as the people we are, and not the mere cells of society we pretend to be.