Bystander Apathy and the Territorial Imperative

A. R. Gillis*, John Hagan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This research focuses on the relationship between persons, places, and social control. Specifically, the study examines territoriality and social distance as factors affecting individuals' thoughts concerning the prevention of crime. The data show that both territoriality and social distance are significant predictors of respondents' willingness to prevent criminal behaviors. Consistent with theory in urban sociology and psychology, people report that they are far more likely to extend aid to family members and friends than to strangers. However, people also report that they are more likely to intervene on behalf of a stranger the nearer to home the offense occurs. Hypothetical situations concerning specific crimes against persons and property were used to elicit responses from 835 adolescents who were the subjects of the research. Analysis of variance is used to analyze the data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-460
Number of pages12
JournalSociological Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Bystander Apathy and the Territorial Imperative'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this