The bystander effect refers to people being less likely to offer help when they are in a group than alone.

Pluralistic Ignorance

Our technology and methods addresses numerous gaps when reporting incidents, including the bystander effect in which no one reports something that’s happened instead of relying on someone else to do it. Studies found that the more people present, the less likely an individual is to report a situation, and it takes them longer to decide whether or not to make a report.

It’s an example of diffusion of responsibility, the desire to respond in a socially acceptable manner, and the need to be viewed as vital. The human brain is accustomed to visual clues to tell the body what to do, and the bystander effect reinforces lack of action. It was first reported in a seminal work by Darley and Bibb Latane in 1968 and extensively substantiated in later studies as recent as 2015.

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Should I Report 

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Where do I report?

Involuntary Physiological Changes 

When your body's fight-flight-freeze is triggered by psychological fears such as a threat or witnessing something far worse, a built-in defense mechanism causes physiological changes, like rapid heart rate and the reduction perception of pain. It can also produce harmful effects on a task performance that distracts the individual from a single purpose, such as reporting an emergency quickly and accurately.

When Fear Overwhelms the caller, the information reported to 911 is more likely to be distorted due to the caller’s fear and shock.

 

Take, for example, February 2, 2022; an ambulance was delayed by 11 minutes responding to a deadly shooting victim after a frantic caller to the D.C. 911 center repeatedly gave the wrong address to a dispatcher, who didn’t catch the mistake.

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How do I report

Image by CDC

Misunderstanding 

When an incoherent, frantic caller reports a life-threatening situation, the potential for translation errors is high. Reporting to 911 isn’t necessarily desirable. Dispatchers have to decode and translate what the caller is saying before relaying it to the responding officers for accurate description and or location.

Take, for example, February 2, 2022; an ambulance was delayed by 11 minutes responding to a deadly shooting victim after a frantic caller to the D.C. 911 center repeatedly gave the wrong address to a dispatcher, who didn’t catch the mistake.

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