“… This is pretty interesting but I’m not sure about your example of Kitty Genovese. … but I think it’s one of “boy who cried wolf” more than “herd mentality”
From experience I say this is good example of compliance.
The message in group situations like this is “don’t get involved!,”, “I’m panicking“, “I’m scared“, “what can I do?” – the result, inaction. By the time they react it’s too late. Humans can be unreliable in terrible situations requiring some kind of measured response when confronted with emergency situations. They do one of three things – fight, flight or freeze. Most reacting to their base level of training – that is, freeze. I’ve seen it first hand – they either freeze or move away, eyes averted. It still haunts me today.
You can see the people who are trained. They are the ones reacting and running towards the trouble. Reaction, doing something requires you to cast aside compliance and do what needs to be done regardless of the consequences, social or otherwise cf: “Stockdale Paradox”