What Would You Do?

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  • #1
BobG
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Main Question or Discussion Point

If you saw someone stealing a bicycle, would you mind your own business, try to stop them (call the police, etc), or would you help them?


http://www.hulu.com/watch/200077/what-would-you-do-fri-dec-10-2010#s-p1-so-i0 [Broken] (The bicycle thief clip starts at 11 minutes in.)

The woman and her husband during the third thief's attempts are priceless. :rofl:
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I'd mind my own business. I see no reason that I should get shot for somebody else's property.
 
  • #3
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Get description and write down details. Call it in to police.
 
  • #4
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Okay. Watched the segment. That guy has tools, including a hammer. The pastor did the right thing because the thief is stealing a bike, pastor is with wife and kids. Not worth the risk for a bike.

But what I'm more interested in is the whole idea of using actors in public, acting like crimes are taking place. I think it's dangerous and needless. Aren't there other ways to study this?
 
  • #5
BobG
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I can't believe guys would help her steal the bike just because she's hot! That's more than just stereotypes or a fear of getting involved.

Here's another strange situation:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/163312/what-would-you-do-tue-jan-13-2009#x-0,vepisode,1,0 [Broken]

http://www.hulu.com/watch/200077/what-would-you-do-fri-dec-10-2010#x-0,vepisode,1,0 [Broken]

Only the women called the female bike thief out and, once again, only a woman came to the aid of the man who had his drink spiked. What's up with that?
 
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  • #6
I'd call the police... it's not worth risking life and limb over a bicycle. Even if I was carrying a legal rig, so what, I'm going to shoot someone for stealing a bike?... no. Memorize features, high, weight, distinguishing characteristics, follow at a distance, take photos with your phone if you can, and call the cops.

I know someone who goes armed ALWAYS, and if he saw that he'd drill the thief... oops for the producers. Oops for my friend (who shouldn't own a gun), but OOPS for acting out a crime in public.
 
  • #7
I can't believe guys would help her steal the bike just because she's hot! That's more than just stereotypes or a fear of getting involved.

Here's another strange situation:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/163312/what-would-you-do-tue-jan-13-2009#x-0,vepisode,1,0 [Broken]

http://www.hulu.com/watch/200077/what-would-you-do-fri-dec-10-2010#x-0,vepisode,1,0 [Broken]

Only the women called the female bike thief out and, once again, only a woman came to the aid of the man who had his drink spiked. What's up with that?
Anyone who sees someone spiking another person's drink and says nothing, should give up their membership card to the human race. I would maintain that regardless of the gender mix...
 
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  • #8
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Anyone who sees someone spiking another person's drink and says nothing, should give up their membership card to the human race. I would maintain that regardless of the gender mix...
In that scenario, I'd almost certainly say something, since date rapists are less likely to get violent than bike thieves, in my opinion. Whether or not that's true, who knows, but that's how I'd perceive the situation.
 
  • #9
Gokul43201
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I'd mind my own business. I see no reason that I should get shot for somebody else's property.
How dangerous is it to call the police after turning a corner?
 
  • #10
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It would largely depend on circumstances, but in my neighborhood I would confront them, write down details and call the police. I wouldn't use violence because I can't justify it under the self-defense clause and I would get thrown in prison.
 
  • #11
BobG
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How dangerous is it to call the police after turning a corner?
At least in the bike scenario, there's no question of physical danger. The only risk is misinterpreting the situation and feeling like a fool for calling the police. That's something to think about, but sometimes the decision to do something or not depends on which mistake you'd feel better about making.

At least the only time I had to decide whether to call the police about something, it was the risk of calling for a stupid reason that bothered me. I wound up deciding to call the non-emergency number, since even if the call was justified, I didn't think the situation was an emergency. The dispatcher didn't agree, however. I was basing my thought process on certain assumptions - the person involved was so totally trashed she couldn't start her car, let alone drive off, and she'd probably sleep it off if I did nothing, but I couldn't be sure she wouldn't start the car and drive off as soon as I left since she was sure doing something with the ignition (the tail lights went on and off several times). The dispatcher was a little more concerned that she was passed out, slumped over the steering wheel than I was (but I didn't give her the entire story of the driver dropping her pants and taking a pee in the street and then staggering back around to the driver side door and almost falling down while opening the door).

The drugging a date scenario is a little harder because it would be harder to believe you'd seen what you'd just seen and you'd feel really, really stupid calling the police on that one if you were wrong. I'd almost need to find someone else that noticed or be very sure I hadn't misinterpreted what was happening. (The scenario on TV isn't that great of a guide since the whole intent was to make sure other customers couldn't help but clearly see what the person was doing - I doubt the situation would be that obvious in the real world.) That would be tough, since the risks are escalated on both sides of the equation - being right and doing nothing or being wrong and doing something. It almost requires personal interaction just to minimize the consequences of being wrong.

And I think it's the risk of being a fool that makes most people afraid of getting involved (or at least that's my main fear). As Mark Twain once said: "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." If you keep quiet and you're wrong, no one will know it but you.

And I, too, was a little surprised by how many risks they take for that show. That's even more extreme than the "To Catch a Predator" shows since they're staging the show out in the general public. I assume they're coordinating this with the police department ahead of time since people are actually making 911 calls? If you watch a few episodes, you might notice they sometimes limit the risk. Sometimes you recognize one of the customers in the background as another actor that played a more leading role in a different episode. I'm not real sure how that show works behind the scenes, but it's not quite a reckless version of "Candid Camera".
 
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  • #12
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I'm busted. In Japan, there are bicycle parking lots next to train stations. The typical bike lock is a joke consisting of a bar attached to the strut that intrudes into the spokes. The bar is activated/released using a thin metal key with rectangular cutouts on the business edge, essentially a two-dimensional affair. The contraption is held onto the strut by regular slot head screws. Once, I returned to the bike parking lot to see a high-school kid starting to walk away with my bike. I assumed that he had taken the wrong one. After all there are hundreds of bikes parked there and many look alike. So when I told him he had my bike and he handed it over to me, I expected he would stay in the parking lot to find his own bike. Instead, he walked away indicating to me that he had no bike and was simply stealing mine. I didn't turn him in. That pretty much explains the state the world is in now. Sorry.
 
  • #13
I'm busted. In Japan, there are bicycle parking lots next to train stations. The typical bike lock is a joke consisting of a bar attached to the strut that intrudes into the spokes. The bar is activated/released using a thin metal key with rectangular cutouts on the business edge, essentially a two-dimensional affair. The contraption is held onto the strut by regular slot head screws. Once, I returned to the bike parking lot to see a high-school kid starting to walk away with my bike. I assumed that he had taken the wrong one. After all there are hundreds of bikes parked there and many look alike. So when I told him he had my bike and he handed it over to me, I expected he would stay in the parking lot to find his own bike. Instead, he walked away indicating to me that he had no bike and was simply stealing mine. I didn't turn him in. That pretty much explains the state the world is in now. Sorry.
You do realize that from the perspective of the rest of the world, that crime is a bit like a the cat with the monocle from The New Yorker tickling your feet with a peacock feather...? Here, the thief rides away, runs away, draws a weapon, throws the bike at you and runs... there's no sheepish exchange of admission and guilt.
 
  • #14
BobG
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Here, the thief rides away, runs away, draws a weapon, throws the bike at you and runs... there's no sheepish exchange of admission and guilt.
I guess there's always the risk that you wind up interacting with a psycho. Usually, weapons just establish the lay of the land so everyone knows what the acceptable behavior is.

When I was young, I took a few cross country hitch hiking trips. I always wore a buck knife on my belt. I don't think I would have been very good in a knife fight, but I always felt that having it in plain sight made me a little safer. The one time my brother and I got picked up by a couple of escaped convicts with guns, the knife was never a problem. I clearly understood that a gun trumped a knife and they took our bags with no protest from me.
 
  • #15
I guess there's always the risk that you wind up interacting with a psycho. Usually, weapons just establish the lay of the land so everyone knows what the acceptable behavior is.

When I was young, I took a few cross country hitch hiking trips. I always wore a buck knife on my belt. I don't think I would have been very good in a knife fight, but I always felt that having it in plain sight made me a little safer. The one time my brother and I got picked up by a couple of escaped convicts with guns, the knife was never a problem. I clearly understood that a gun trumped a knife and they took our bags with no protest from me.
Times have changed... the people who commit these petty crimes are no longer necessarily young juveniles out on a lark. Theft of items such as bicycles, tools, and building materials is primarily in the realm of professional junkie. Frankly, at least the convicts had a strong motivation to keep quiet and not leave a trail of bodies or dissapearences... and they were unlikely to have had access drugs at that point or have been in withdrawal.

I pine for a day when the **** that's stolen on the average day is the result of teen hijinks.
 
  • #16
BobG
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Only the women called the female bike thief out and, once again, only a woman came to the aid of the man who had his drink spiked. What's up with that?
I still wonder how far a hot chick could get a guy to go. Could she get him to help her rig a bomb in a subway station? What would he do when she dialed a number on her cell phone and the subway station blew up? Would he regret not getting up the nerve to ask her for a date?
 
  • #17
FlexGunship
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If you saw someone stealing a bicycle, would you mind your own business, try to stop them (call the police, etc), or would you help them?
This happened to me. Except it was a very elaborate (expensive?) Halloween lawn ornament. So... not quite a bike. I saw someone take it and put it in a black pickup truck. I jumped in my car and went to the end of the street to wait (nonchalantly; I was more cleverly hidden that it sounds). I called the police once they drove off with it and just followed their vehicle. The police were very happy that I was able to confirm the location of the vehicle at all times, signal an officer in the other lane, and still able to remain anonymous. The cruiser was behind me, once I pulled over, he was able to get around me and two other cars to get to the pickup truck. The police never even asked my name. Just which vehicle was mine so they could identify it (as I told them the truck was two cars in front of me most of the time).

The lawn ornament was back that night. Total investment? About $3 in gas and 20 minutes.
 
  • #18
FlexGunship
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Anyone who sees someone spiking another person's drink and says nothing, should give up their membership card to the human race. I would maintain that regardless of the gender mix...
Wow, Nismar... I'm not letting you be my wingman next time I go out.
 
  • #19
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Here, the thief rides away, runs away, draws a weapon, throws the bike at you and runs... there's no sheepish exchange of admission and guilt.
I missed that part of the video. All I saw was a softspoken young man who politely admitted his guilt at the merest suggestion.
 
  • #20
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How dangerous is it to call the police after turning a corner?
What's the benefit to calling the police after turning a corner? They're not going to get there in time to stop the crime, and there's really not enough evidence to track the criminal down. I'd have to wait for the police to get there and then give a witness statement. In this scenario, I assume I have something better to do than waste an hour of my time with police when they won't solve the crime anyway.
 
  • #21
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What's the benefit to calling the police after turning a corner? They're not going to get there in time to stop the crime, and there's really not enough evidence to track the criminal down. I'd have to wait for the police to get there and then give a witness statement. In this scenario, I assume I have something better to do than waste an hour of my time with police when they won't solve the crime anyway.
An hour?

Anyway, failure to report a crime can be a crime. Best to be on the safe side, particularly if the offense becomes a felony.

United States Code said:
Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 1, § 4. Misprision of felony

I've reported such things before, and I don't recall ever being made to give a statement. But I suppose it could be necessary in some situations.
 
  • #22
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An hour?

Anyway, failure to report a crime can be a crime. Best to be on the safe side, particularly if the offense becomes a felony.


U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 1, § 4. Misprision of felony

I've reported such things before, and I don't recall ever being made to give a statement. But I suppose it could be necessary in some situations.
When would stealing a bicycle be a felony?

Besides, even if it was a crime to not report it in this case, I still wouldn't bother. I don't base my behavior on what is legal and what isn't. I do illegal things all the time when I know the risk of getting caught is slim to none. Driving 3 mph over the speed limit is illegal, but there's practically no chance of getting pulled over for it, so I do that daily.

Keeping my head down and walking when a bike is being stolen could also be a crime, but there's even less of a chance that I'd get caught for that.

And yes, an hour sounds reasonable to me. About 30 minutes for the officer to arrive, and 30 minutes for them to get a description of the criminal and do the paperwork.
 
  • #23
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When would stealing a bicycle be a felony?
Beside the point. If the act occurs during the commission of a felony, you're required to report it. Whereas it can be impossible to know all the circumstances of a crime, it's better to just call and at least report suspicious activity. Besides, some bikes get pretty expensive:

E Moto LLC Ridge 3.0 Electric Folding Mountain Bike
[PLAIN]http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/public/CgpK52Qf1wd_S1hUoDd48IzWZeJIVJM-71yxUlLZl1P0mWS5X2r1T1SvxFyeGhDPQcDkvbq_VmIpvsGZaP3d0JNUMPoAyh18oN_otFf4dcTgkTWQ8dIjEDs8xnfeXB7mQdcEFxggpzER3T03nK5lUu_Vs-IpFlMxb9ACN2RlB9dR_FLoPHa3DQ [Broken]
$1,499

Anything else of value on the bike? Could it add up to felony theft? I know you'll go on about your business, sure. And I hope the same fate never befalls you some day as other people watch your property disappear.

Or as they try to eliminate related evidence in another crime.
 
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  • #24
Person spiking another person's drink:

I would speak up, regardless of gender. Many bars have cameras installed throughout the bar, covering many angles. Likely, the perpetrator's action were recorded and my challenge to the perpetrator would be backed by the video.

Person stealing bike in public area:

If the bike looks cheap, I would challenge the suspect and/or give a description of the suspect + bike to the police; more often than not, the bike belongs to a middle class or poor person, and I need to protect my own. If the bike looks expensive, I would keep walking, since it probably belongs to a rich person; Why? Because f*** rich people, that is why.

As for skin color, it depends on the skin color of the person and the average skin color of the neighborhood. White guy acting suspiciously in a predominantly black neighborhood will get reported; same goes for black guy acting suspiciously in a predominantly white neighborhood. White guy in a predominantly white neighborhood gets a pass, and so does black guy in a predominantly black neighborhood. If it happens in a largely mixed area, both are SoL. However, in all cases, if the bikes they are stealing look expensive, alleged thieves get a pass.

If it is a woman, I would help her, even if she is not that attractive.

Pregnant woman consuming alcohol (and/or smoking):

I already went through this one. This happened a week before my wife gave birth to our son. We were on a public street when my wife spotted a pregnant woman smoking. My wife immediately enraged and confronted the woman, both entering a shouting match. My wife went so far as to grab her cigarette and throw it on the ground. I was finally able to pull wife away, avoiding a more serious situation. Unfortunately, I became the target of her verbal anger for the next 3 hours.

Public discrimination against others in a public place of commerce:

I would probably try to film the incident and give the recording to the victims. No use confronting the abuser, since the abuser will be out of a job soon, anyway.
 
  • #25
BobG
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What's the benefit to calling the police after turning a corner? They're not going to get there in time to stop the crime, and there's really not enough evidence to track the criminal down. I'd have to wait for the police to get there and then give a witness statement. In this scenario, I assume I have something better to do than waste an hour of my time with police when they won't solve the crime anyway.
This line of logic has some merit. A lot of times, situational details, such as time, are a lot more important than a person's personality, morals, etc.

Darley and Batson's "Jerusalem to Jericho" experiment looked at how situational details affected the behavior of seminary students confronted with a 'Good Samaritan' situation. (The link is just a summary of the experiment since you have to pay to look at the actual report.)

The students were notified that they had to deliver a speech in a different building on short notice. Along the way, they would passed an obviously injured man in great pain lying across the corrider they had to walk down (whether the injured man was an actor or whether Darley and Batson actually beat someone up and tossed them in the corridor isn't noted). Surely seminary students would put helping the injured man ahead of delivering their speech, but .....

The urgency of the short notice was varied:

In one group, the students were told they were already late and they needed to get there as soon as possible. Only 10% of those seminary students stopped to help the man.

In a second group, the students were told the assistant was ready for them and they could give the speech as soon as they arrived. 45% of those seminary students stopped to help the man.

A third group was told that it would be a little bit before they assistant was ready for him, but he should head over now, anyway. 63% of those seminary students stopped to help the injured man.

In other words, the urgency of their own personal situation affected whether they felt they could spare the time to help the injured man. That resulted in a bigger difference in responses than the topic of the speech, which was the other variable:

Half the students in each group had to give a speech on the potential careers for seminary students. In all, 29% of those seminary students stopped to help the injured man.

Half the students in each group had to talk about the Good Samaritan parable. 53% of those seminary students stopped to help the injured man.

In fact, there were a few seminary students in the urgent group that were in such a hurry to give their Good Samaritan speech that they stepped directly over the injured man on the way to their speech. One can only wonder if they suddenly realized the irony in the middle of their talk and how they reacted.

Overall, 40% of the seminary students were good Samaritans and helped the injured man.
 
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