Fear is fear. You can’t get an emotion as primitive as that. Whether of death or pain, the dynamic would not change. A city ruled by fear is a short lived one.
Also a town has a very different dynamic compared to a city so your example might not actually apply. Sure such codes will work in a town where almost everyone knows everyone, but not in a city. Such a code is bound to break.
So there is really a lot of trust or things should have flushed down the toilet.
Speaking of toilet. High level demons would need a large one.