I think it's all about luck. The issue is that people don't want to take the risk. One bad experience, and they kill people. And quite frankly, I think he (Rocket) should bring back a better means to differentiate between players who kill others and those who don't other than a heartbeat via crosshairs over someone. While someone might find it fun to run around killing people, for others it just wrecks their day. For me it's all about friends to play with.
I play with friends for safety in numbers, but we still act like a bunch of cowards in most situations. We try to avoid killing other players unless we are fired upon first(We try to use this as our ROE), as we generally feel we've worked for our gear, and imagine others feel the same way. Other than the odd exception, we're generally fairly gentle on other players. But then again, we get the hell off the coast first thing as well, and tend to try to provide for ourselves well enough in the wilderness. Typical Canadian approach, hiding.
First priority would be get some folks to play with. Makes all the difference for me.
Final thought in this post: Radios. Once radios come in, bringing in some form of area/region/global chat again, I think banditry will go down. Simply knowing that bandits are in such-and-such an area, and you were killed by so and so, and being able to tell others, will help things immensely. Right now there is no real accountability. Banditry doesn't really pack a negative punch at the moment, but when it becomes a more social game again, I think it will go down. What really needs to be attached is extremely negative social consequences, no mechanical ones. But the basis of social interaction is some form of communication, and due to the vast distances involved in the game and removal of all but direct chat for communication, communication is almost a non-existent thing.