Innovative ways to design out crime
Press release issued: 4 November 2008
A programme of work to develop new and innovative design solutions to help prevent robbery, to crime-proof hot new gadgets and to embed public safety in the design of new public spaces and housing was announced today [Tuesday, November 4].
Over the next three years, the UK’s top designers will bring together industry, the public sector, designers and crime prevention experts with victims of crime. Backed by £1.6 million, new design-led ideas will be prototyped and exhibited to showcase the UK’s world-class innovation and demonstrate their market potential.
The programme, led by the Design Council, will work on developing solutions to a wide range of crime-related problems, particularly those which affect young people, including:
- Schools – finding and applying specific design solutions to reduce problems such as bullying, fighting and petty theft in schools. This is being led by Sir John Sorrell, Chair of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and the Sorrell Foundation.
- ‘Hot’ products – developing innovations in technology, services and product design which help make personal electronics more ‘crime-proof’. This is being led by Joe McGeehan, Professor of Communications Engineering and Director of the Centre for Communications Research at Bristol University.
- Housing - embedding design-led crime reducing approaches in the planning and construction of housing, led by Ken Pease, a forensic psychologist and visiting Professor at University College London.
- Alcohol-related crime – finding design-led approaches to reduce the harm caused by alcohol-related antisocial and criminal behaviour, especially assaults in pubs and clubs. This is being led by Jeremy Myerson, Professor of Design Studies at the Royal College of Art.
- Business crime – such as helping businesses to use design to minimise crimes which victimise them, their customers or employees such as shoplifting and other forms of retail theft. This will be led by Lorraine Gamman, Professor of Design Studies at Central St Martins.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: “I want to encourage architects, designers and industry to think about how innovative design solutions can help to reduce and even prevent crimes from occurring in the first place.
“We have worked successfully with the mobile phone industry to make phones less attractive to criminals. I want to see design and technology play a greater role in working to help make spaces, places and gadgets safer.
“By bringing experts from the world of design together with consumers and victims of crime, the Design and Technology Alliance will continue to deliver innovative and practical solutions to real problems.”
Professor Joe McGeehan added: "Mobile phones are the only item taken in 28 per cent of robberies in London. Other “hot products” such as MP3 players, Sat Navs, laptops, personal digital assistants and digital cameras are also crime targets. Rapidly evolving technologies mean we need to stay ahead of the game to stop new products becoming a problem."
The Design and Technology Alliance was set up in 2007 to help make crime unattractive and make communities feel safer by generating practical ideas to tackle crime and disorder, based on a thorough understanding of the way criminals work.
Further informationThe Design and Technology Alliance is comprised of ten experts from the world of design, industry and law enforcement, whose task is to bring about innovation and encourage others to ‘think crime’ in the first stages of planning and product development. They are:
Sebastian Conran, Managing Director of Studio Conran and Head of the Alliance. Responsible for stakeholder engagement, collaboration, partnerships and sponsors and reports to the Home Secretary on progress.
Joe McGeehan, Professor of Communications Engineering and Director of Centre for Communications Research at Bristol University and Managing Director for Toshiba Research Europe Ltd. and has pioneered major developments in mobile communications. Leader of “Hot Products” work stream.
Sir John Sorrell, Chair of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, and the Sorrell Foundation which created the Joined Up Design for Schools programme. Leader of schools work stream.
Jeremy Myerson, Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design, Royal College of Art. Leader of alcohol work stream.
Ken Pease, forensic psychologist and Visiting Professor at University College London, working on the evaluation of the ACPO initiative “Secure by Design”. Leader of housing work stream.
Lorraine Gamman, Professor of Design Studies at Central St Martins, and currently working with business to design out bag theft in retail environments, graffiti in retail and public space, and to generate social innovation strategies to deal with youth crime. Leader of business crime work stream.
David Kester, Chief Executive of Design Council. Responsible for coordinating and managing the Alliance programme, including delivery of projects across the board.
Michael Wolff, co-founder of Wolff Ollins, a world leading brand consultancy. Responsible for branding and ensuring effective strategic communications of Alliance work.
Sir Paul Stephenson, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Responsible for the policing aspects of the programme and overseeing Quick Win projects.
Gloria Laycock, Director of UCL Centre for Security and Crime Science. Responsible for advising on the mainstreaming of successful projects, and developing policy recommendations through a ‘Securing the Future’ report.
The five work streams which the Design and Technology Alliance will be working are:
Mobile phones are the only item taken in 28 per cent of robberies in London. Other “hot products” such as MP3 players, Sat Navs, laptops, personal digital assistants and digital cameras are also crime targets. Rapidly evolving technologies mean we need to stay ahead of the game to stop new products becoming a problem.
Over the next 15 years, all secondary and half of all primary schools will be rebuilt or refurbished - a unique opportunity to design environments that discourage problems like bullying, fighting and petty theft which also often lead to wider crime problems in the community.
Despite violent crime having fallen 43 per cent since 1995, drunken and rowdy behaviour remains a significant concern. Fresh thinking is needed on design led approaches to reduce the harm caused by alcohol related crime.
With the commitment to increase the number of homes, it is vital to ensure that crime reduction is given a higher priority by architects, planners and developers.
Businesses need to play an important role in designing their operations to minimise crime and disorder, but they are often the victims of crime too through shoplifting and other forms of retail theft.