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12.3 MILLION CRIMES WERE COMMITTED AGAINST ADULTS IN THE UK THAT’S 150 CRIMES EVERY MINUTE British Crime Survey (12 months up to September 2002)




We don’t want to make you paranoid, but it’s true. The targets and tools of crime are all around you: in your pockets, on your desk, around the studio or office, in the street you walked down to get to work, and wherever you’re going afterwards, whether it’s to the bar, the supermarket or, of course, your home.

Ordinary objects and places have a double life. They are the accessories of muggers, thieves and sociopaths. A shopping trolley is the poor man’s ram-raiding vehicle. The beer glass you drank out of last night is a lethal weapon. That iMac you work on would fetch a fair price. As for your mobile phone, it’s a modern phenomenon. A modern criminal phenomenon, that is. Everyone is vulnerable to crime and the fear of it, and everyone does their bit to prevent it. But only a few small sections of the population can help to foil crime on a large scale. Such as law enforcement agencies, crime prevention organisations, town planners... and professional designers. The products and places that aid and abet the lawbreaker are the work of professional designers. Crime scientists increasingly believe that people fall into criminal ways not because they are poor or ill-educated or have been raised badly, but because they constantly face the temptation to commit crime. As leading criminologist Professor Gloria Laycock put it in The Observer, ‘In a capitalist society, there are a zillion things to pinch.’ It’s the job of the marketer and the designer to create the desire for a new product – the desire that provokes people to put their hand in their pocket, but makes others put the thing itself in their pocket. No one – at least not on these pages – is arguing


that things should be any other way. Designers can tempt away. But what they can also do is take away the opportunity for criminals to cash in. What you will find here are ways in which the design of products, services and environments can be made more resistant to offences such as theft and criminal damage without reducing their allure, marketability or user-friendliness. On the contrary, for the majority of consumers, increased security in a product, place or service is a positive selling point, as the examples in this guide demonstrate. After all, the fear of crime is as big a problem in modern society as crime itself. There are benefits to businesses, communities and individuals in making crime prevention a design issue. If designers thought not only about the user, but also about the potential abuser or misuser, they could make the world a safer, more civilised place. This guide, prepared for the Design Council by a multidisciplinary team from the University of Salford and Sheffield Hallam University, is intended to make that integration of anti-crime thinking as natural as possible. The temptation is to do nothing and walk away. Be a hero. Have a go, and design to make a difference.

An Old Problem Crime in the UK


A New Solution Design Against Crime The business case The social case The design case

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The Four Steps of Design Against Crime Consult Develop Test Deliver

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49% OF BRITISH PEOPLE HAVE BEEN A VICTIM OF CRIME ‘Crime Uncovered’ poll by The Observer, April 2003



Extent of crime After a peak in 1993-94, crime levels in the UK have fallen and are now flattening out, according to the British Crime Survey (which is based on interviews with the public) and police data on recorded crime. According to the BCS, there were 12.3million crimes committed against adults in the 12 months up to September 2002. That’s 150 every minute. But it still represents a fall of 7% compared with crime in 2000. BCS interviews estimate there were 982,000 domestic burglaries in this 12 month period (8% of all crimes), and 2.4million incidents of vehicle theft and attempted theft (from and of vehicles). That represents a 14% fall since 2000.

Common assault 19%

Burglary 8% Theft of and from vehicles 20%

Robbery 3% Sexual offences 1% Violence 5% Attempted vehicle theft 5%


Other theft and handling 22% Criminal damage 17%

Cost of crime Crime is a drain on the national wealth In 2000, the total cost of crime in England and Wales each year was estimated to be £60billion, or £1,200 per person (Brand & Price, 2000) – the equivalent of the total value of local authority housing stock in the UK, or the total spending on the UK’s railways under the Government’s Ten Year Transport Plan. Crime costs us in a mixture of ways, some tangible, some intangible, that are distributed between the victim, industry and society: •Measures taken in anticipation of crime eg extra security, insurance •The consequences of crime eg losses of and damage to property, the costs incurred by emotional and physical trauma, lost output, health services •Measures taken in response to crime eg Criminal Justice System, policing.

Vulnerability to crime For each type of crime, there are groups in society who are more at risk than others. For example, single parent households are the most vulnerable to burglary. Those most at risk from violent crime are men aged 16 to 24. Being a victim of crime is often part of the experience of being socially excluded, as those most at risk are poor and living in neglected communities. Crime is also part and parcel of urbanisation. As areas become more developed, communities lose the ability to police themselves. Ownership of certain items also increases the risk of theft. The British burglar’s top five targets are (in descending order): cash, jewellery, CDs, DVDs, tapes and videos, audio equipment and VCR/DVD equipment. New favourites of burglars and thieves are mobile phones and digital cameras. And there are rich pickings to be made from new breeds of high-tech, pocket-sized gadgetry such as iPods, PDAs and pocket gaming devices – all easily swiped. Fear of crime Overall, the level of crime may have fallen by around 17% in the last 10 years, but our fear of crime is higher than ever. Suspicion and anxiety seem to be rife, dividing communities and costing society dear. Millions of people live in some degree of fear. In the BCS, 31% of people confirmed that their lives were moderately affected by fear of crime. One in eight reported feeling very unsafe walking alone in their area after dark. Half of all people are very or fairly worried about the threat of burglary, even though only 3.5% of households had experienced a burglary or attempted burglary in the previous 12 months. Why is our fear seemingly so out of proportion to the actual risk of crime? Criminologists believe it is to do with the volume of – and appetite for – televised crime, either in documentaries or dramas, whose increasingly graphic and realistic images of lawbreaking play on our minds. Perhaps also the increase in affluence and general quality of life of the population has made us feel more like targets, even though it is the poor and alienated who are most at risk. Finally, although crime has declined in the last decade, it is still higher than at any time before 1990, the dawn of the last recession. And, in rates of crimes such as domestic burglary and vehicle crime, England and Wales still top the European tables. Crime, and fear of crime, are a burden on society, on the economy and on the quality of life for a very large number of people. It’s a real problem. But what can design do about it? Why not leave it to the police?


Crime in the UK may have fallen recently, but it’s not going away. It is still enough of a problem to warrant our continued search for new means of crime prevention.


£60 BILLION OR £1,200 PER PERSON Brand & Price, 2000



Designing against crime offers a solution. The criminal justice system is limited in its ability to prevent crime and disorder. For every 100 offences committed, only two result in a conviction – hardly a strong enough disincentive to determined criminals. Other means have to be sought to deter them. Prevention is crucial. Policing is largely reactive – responding to crimes after the event. Design is proactive. The elements of our modern, designed environment – everyday products, services, vehicles, architecture, streets, public transport and amenities – all have an impact on crime and the fear of crime. By actively incorporating attributes into a product, service or place to make it less vulnerable, designers and architects can help to limit the opportunities for crime and make life a lot harder for the thief, mugger or vandal. Built-in, not bolted-on Take the example of cars. Using well-publicised research, the Government put pressure on car manufacturers to do more about making vehicles theft-resistant. Car security has since become a major commercial issue. New methods of preventing crime are constantly under development – alarms, bonnet locks, glass breaker detectors and perimeter protection, for example. Some companies actually hire reformed car-breakers to attack-test their new models. As a result, overall levels of car crime have dropped sharply in the last decade. ‘Bolted-on’ crime prevention solutions don’t work and often just cause other problems. Razor wire, for example, may reduce the fear of crime on one side of a wall but

increase it on the other side. Anticipating the possible threats and weaknesses to an environment or product at the design stage is more effective than reactive solutions both in terms of cost and utility. Thinking thief What designers can do is ‘think thief’: that is, put themselves in the place of an offender, anticipate their actions, understand their tools, knowledge and skills and thereby develop design solutions that short circuit the offender’s action without jeopardising the design’s value to legitimate users. It’s a battle, the survival of the fittest. Criminals quickly get accustomed to the shortcomings of their targets. Car thieves will rent a new model just to gauge its vulnerabilities. Designers have to learn methods and techniques that allow them to out-think the criminal. Applying the tools included in this guide, they can gain a head start. Before going head-to-head with criminals, however, the designer might have to win other battles. Clients may have to be won over to the view that Design Against Crime (DAC) measures are (a) relevant and (b) potentially beneficial to their organisation, as well as to the wider social environment. They may be completely unaware of the benefits of safer, more crime-resistant design to their customers or communities, and to their own organisation. The following pages present the commercial and social reasons why companies should buy into the business of crime prevention. They also include the design case: how Design Against Crime can encourage creativity, usability and innovation, rather than dampening them.

CASE STUDY: 01 A Glass Apart Organisation AlphaBar Project Toughened beer glass

Max Perez sold weapons. At least, that’s the conclusion the drinking glass supplier arrived at after witnessing a terrifying attack on guests at a wedding by intruders armed with a pint glass and a beer bottle. A bouncer was stabbed in the chest and a girl’s wrist slashed by the broken glass, while Max himself suffered facial cuts from an attack with the bottle. ‘It brought home to me how dangerous the glasses I was selling were,’ says the MD of AlphaBar, based in the North West of England. ‘I knew I couldn’t sell that stuff anymore.’ Max started looking into toughened glass, whose use in drinking glasses had been pioneered in France. Not long after, following a horrific ‘glassing’ attack that nearly blinded a woman in a Manchester bar, Max started working with local police and the Manchester Evening News on a campaign to promote the use of toughened glass. Soon, he was making major in-roads with his new toughened drinking

glasses, especially in the North West’s numerous independent pubs, bars and clubs. The glass is made by slowly heating and then quickly cooling, several times, a specially formulated glass, in order to ‘temper’ it, like steel. The process builds up multiple layers within it, which eliminates weak points and increases its impact resistance by five times or more. ‘Toughened glass lasts longer than normal glass,’ says Max. ‘It’s much harder to break, and if it is smashed, it breaks into loads of tiny, blunt pieces. If someone decided he wanted to slash you with it, he’d be disappointed.’ In February 2001, the Manchester Evening News was able to announce: ‘Glassing attacks are down to zero’. Max’s turnover, since switching to toughened glass, increased by 15%. Now the rest of the UK needs to learn the same lessons as Manchester.


We need to look for ways of supporting the efforts of the police and other agencies in the fight against crime.




Increased competitive advantage As the awareness of certain types of crime increases, consumers are demanding greater security in the products that are affected. Businesses have found that increasing the crime resistance of their products, by designing them to be harder to steal or vandalise for example, can become a strong differentiator. To address growing concern over car theft in the US, Sears expanded its successful no-maintenance DieHard car battery line by introducing a model that could be deactivated by the owner on parking the car. The DieHard security line – ‘The only battery engineered to start your car and stop a thief’ – once again put clear water between Sears and its rivals who, by now, had all developed their own no-maintenance products. Brand protection Large scale counterfeiting can damage a company’s brand image and hit profits hard. High-profile cases of fraud, counterfeiting and product tampering have involved products ranging from car parts, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to software and baby food. Companies in vulnerable areas of business can reinforce their brands by designing methods of authenticating goods and protecting them against interference.

There are recent examples in the distilling and chemical industries. To protect bottles of Smirnoff against tampering between the factory and the store, Decorative Sleeves and De La Rue Holographics developed a security seal as part of the shrink sleeve that fitted over the bottle top. A hologram provides proof of authenticity and a set of designs in thermochromic ink betray human handling by vanishing when the bottle is held. RPC Containers developed a tamper-evident closure for Dulux paint pots when it came to light that some stockists were opening the old metal lids and substituting cheap paint for the Dulux. Plastic lids were introduced with slots that allowed customers to insert a screwdriver to prise the lid off. A very thin membrane over each of the slots – virtually a by-product of the moulding process – gives away any previous attempt to open the lid. Revenue protection Retailers can ill afford the £2.2billion that crime costs them in losses and security spending each year. The figure equates to 1% of sector turnover. The trade suffers as a whole, but individual businesses can pay an even heavier price if customers feel threatened enough to stay away in large numbers. The standard response is locks, CCTV and shutters. Larger chains, though, such as Tesco (see below) are using interior design to snuff out the shoplifters.

CASE STUDY: 02 We Can See You Organisation Tesco Project Improving ‘in store’ crime prevention

British shops now lose a massive £2.2billion a year from theft (by staff and customers) and criminal damage, and spend an additional £600million on crime prevention. Of course, these costs get passed on to the consumer: they amount to £100 on each household’s annual shopping bill. In a supermarket, it’s easy for a shoplifter with a basket full of spirits, beer, CDs or a VCR, for example, to sneak out of the fire exit or sprint through an unused checkout aisle near the exit and into a waiting car. So how do you deter criminals without deterring everyone else? How do you create an environment that’s both customer-friendly and shoplifter-unfriendly? Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, knows the problem well. The chain hired Greg Lawrence, an ex-policeman, to help prevent and discourage shoplifters. His brief was clear: cut crime, but don’t harm the takings.

‘Thinking thief’ in the context of Tesco led Greg to recommend a range of changes to the in-store layout and display design, all aimed at undermining the thief’s sense of safe anonymity and ability to escape. Chief among them were wider aisles with longer sightlines, lower shelving units and cul-de-sacs in areas used as escape routes. Wider, longer aisles and lower shelves prevent shoplifters from finding hiding places and reduce the number of CCTV blindspots. Cul-de-sacs give thieves just one way in and one way out. The measures have to prove themselves to be cost-effective. Not piling goods quite so high might have an initial impact on a store’s sales per square foot, but Tesco has felt the benefits. The extra focus on crime prevention has made customers feel more secure. They like the more open environment, as the rate of repeat visits shows and crime levels have fallen.



For example, alcohol-related violence is a crime issue all on its own in the UK. Changes in licensing laws and the growth of nightclubs have only exacerbated the problem. However, the vast majority of people would choose to socialise in surroundings that are safe, secure and unthreatening.

‘Bolted-on’ crime prevention solutions don’t work. Razor wire, for example, might reduce the fear of crime on one side of a wall, but increase it on the other side.

Innovations such as AlphaBar’s introduction of toughened drinking glasses in the Manchester area (see page 13) have been popular with bars and have reduced ‘glassings’ to zero. The demolition of a notorious pub in Wythenshawe was followed by a rebuild by the Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) brewery chain, incorporating a number of measures to reduce violent incidents and discourage drug dealing. An open-plan layout allows every table to be seen from every point. Discreet CCTV coverage and good exterior lighting put off drug dealers and car thieves, and locating toilets away from the main entrance put paid to the ‘easy in, easy out’ path beaten by the pushers. A beer garden, play area and a ‘Secured By Design’ award from the police authority have all helped to push custom up. Locals love their local again. And so does S&N, for whom the pub is now performing very well indeed. Support for communities Businesses and local communities can benefit from initiatives to reduce crime. Companies can develop projects and transfer knowledge to communities to support their efforts to cut crime, raising their profile locally by doing so. The involvement of designers is needed in addressing a whole range of crimes, including racism and personal security.

CASE STUDY: 03 Park Life Organisation Parksafe Systems Ltd Project Secure car parking system

What’s the safest place in any British town centre? The police station? Possibly. The local branch of Laura Ashley? Maybe. In Derby, it’s a multistorey car park. The 10 storey, 440-space, short-stay car park on Bold Lane, near the shopping centre, used to have problems. People used the stairwells as toilets, did drugs in darkened corners and trashed parked cars for fun. It was notorious, and shoppers started avoiding it altogether. After having his own car broken into, Ken Wigley, an agricultural engineer, decided to do something about it. He had the makings of a solution in a movement sensor system he had designed for a forage harvester, which could detect discarded metal objects on the ground and shut the harvester down before any damage was done. Working with Derby City Council, and placing one sensor in each parking bay to detect when parked cars were being disturbed, Ken wired the entire car park to unauthorised vehicle-related activity.

When customers swipe their ticket through a Bay Controller machine as they leave the building, their Parksafe bay sensor is activated. When they return and re-swipe, the sensor is turned off. With around 20 CCTV cameras on each floor, monitored entrances and exits, and a heavyweight PA system, any potential trouble-making can be met with a very loud verbal warning. Incredibly, in four years of operation, not a single incident was recorded. No graffiti, no break-ins, no damage. Crime has been reduced to zero and customers are happy to pay a little more to feel safe and secure, which will help bring a return on investment all the sooner. At weekends, the car park is full. The agricultural engineer, meanwhile, is taking his Parksafe System to other town centres, and cultivating a promising new business in the process.


Products and places that prevent crime Being seen to be socially responsible is now part of the mainstream of business competitiveness. Companies operate sustainability programmes, they include provision for disabilities in their products and services and they promote equality in the workplace. Crime prevention is another trend that, were it to become a differentiator in the marketplace, could benefit society in ways that are even more tangible.




Before designers and architects can persuade clients, managers or anyone else that treating crime prevention as a design issue is a good idea, designers themselves need to believe it. Who could blame them for being wary? As with any issue that adds extra conditions or requirements to a design brief, crime prevention could simply be seen as another way of making the designer’s job harder. The statistics and the moral arguments for designing against crime may be hard to dispute... but do design-based solutions to crime really work? What about the attractiveness and convenience of products hardened against attack? Isn’t crime resistance all about standards and strength and reducing access? And what about creativity, the designer’s stock-in-trade, which would surely be squashed under the weight of new technical demands? Innovation versus standardisation There are standard methods for improving the security of products, services and buildings. But new, innovative ones are needed all the time. Effective crime prevention depends upon creativity and innovation to outsmart the criminal. Criminals like to think of themselves as pretty clever, and a few are indeed quite ingenious.

Design and technology, however, are more powerful. The challenge for the designer is to balance creativity with conscientiousness, fully developing and testing a solution (among users and abusers) before committing it to the market and to the dissecting gaze of the criminal. Usability versus security Making a product or place more secure need not mean making it less accessible to legitimate users. Adding extra layers of protection is just one approach. More effective, in fact, is the redesign of certain elements to make the whole less attractive to criminals. Shopping trolleys without large wire baskets, for example, are no use at all to would-be joyriders (see below). Urban designers, meanwhile, face the challenge of making our public spaces more secure and more accessible. While encouraging more people onto the streets, footpaths, cycle routes and public transport, they cannot afford to foster the crimes that go with busy, crowded conditions, such as pick-pocketing, alcohol-related violence and burglary. Careful design and management of public areas can create the right balance.

CASE STUDY: 04 Shopped Organisation IDEO Project Shopping trolley

The shopping trolley: symbol of consumerism... and of crime. In the US, two million go missing every year, presenting retailers there (and, ultimately, shoppers) with an annual bill of $175million. US hospitals, meanwhile, have to deal each year with 22,000 casualties – mostly children – of shopping trolley-related accidents. When ABC’s Nightline TV show invited IDEO, one of the world’s most successful product design consultancies, to redesign a bugbear of modern life in just five days, it chose the shopping ‘cart’. It was a multi-layered design challenge that offered IDEO the perfect opportunity to display its ‘focused chaos’ approach to complex problems. A group of 16 designers spent day one hurling themselves into the subject, watching shoppers, examining relevant technologies, quizzing experts and intensively assimilating the issues before throwing down possible solutions on paper. On day two, with dozens of ideas and sketches on the walls, they

divided into four groups to develop practical solutions to separate challenges: shopping, safety and stealability, checkout, and in-store orientation. The eventual prototype contained numerous fresh ideas. But, crucially, there was nothing about the design that trumpeted ‘CRIME RESISTANT!’ (subtext: ‘you are all potential criminals!’). Thanks to integrated thinking, the innovation that rendered the trolley useless to go-carters was, in fact, the same thing that made it so useful to shoppers. The main basket – ie the joy-rider’s cockpit – was removed completely, and replaced with an open frame able to hold two layers of plastic hand-baskets. The double-decker design prevented goods from getting squashed, while the baskets could be lifted off and carried to collect items easily from crowded aisles. For thieves, the empty frame would be no fun at all. Armed with a scanner, cup holders, a seat and play surface for baby, and streamlined bodywork, the cart was a joy for shoppers, but not for riders.


Safety versus style Does ‘safe’ always have to mean ‘boring’? Not in the least. ‘Safe’ and ‘attractive’ are not mutually exclusive. The Victorians made an art out of designing iron railings to protect houses from intruders.

Environments that are visually engaging are often less vulnerable to crime. Attractive, well maintained environments engender respect from their users. Premises that are disfigured by extreme defensive security measures such as razor wire, shutters, grilles and bricked-up windows only fuel the fear of crime, and can hasten an area’s decline. Better initial design and planning of the surrounding environment prevents the spiral starting. Good street lighting and wayfinding measures, clear sightlines and a minimum of secluded or isolated areas go a long way towards making people and places less vulnerable.

Well designed branded goods are wanted by thieves as much as they are by paying customers. But they can be protected against crime in a number of ways, some visible, some invisible. The presence of a compact alarm system, carefully secreted, can add an air of invincibility to a product such as a handbag (see below).

The standard retailer’s response to crime is locks, CCTV and shutters. Larger chains, though, such as Tesco, are using interior design to snuff out the shoplifters.

CASE STUDY: 05 Bags of Good Ideas Organisation Esquire Collection Project Theft-resistant handbag

Pick-pockets in South Korea are having a hard time. A company there has created a whole new market for thief-proof handbags with a product arrived at by getting inside the criminal mind. The initiative followed extensive research into pick-pocketing by Korean police and criminology agencies. Handbags, when they are not being snatched, are attacked in two ways, the findings revealed. The first is the ‘bag-pluck’: a hand inside the bag, stealing a wallet or purse. The second is the ‘bag-rip’: a swift incision into the side of the bag, followed by a quick rummage. Korean fashions changed in the late 1990s and shoulder straps became much shorter, making ‘plucking’ a lot more difficult. ‘Ripping’ came into vogue. Research showed that criminals especially liked bags in vinyl or light leather – easy meat for a scalpel. And the bigger the bag, the easier it was to penetrate.

Esquire Collection, Korean makers of fashion accessories, took note and teamed up with CNE Tech, developers of alarm sensors, to create a line of handbags with in-built audible theft alerts. They developed a two-piece system, comprising a sensor connected to an alarm that would be sensitive to pressure from a knife. The sensor was placed within the leather of the bag – they chose a stylish, fashionable handbag popular with customers and thieves – and the alarm sat in a small pouch. The bag’s appearance wasn’t affected at all. In addition, the bag’s zipper was moved to make it less accessible to pickpockets, and the shoulder strap included a wire that made it far harder to slash. It became the pickpocket’s Fort Knox. Distinguished by special tags that pre-warned attackers that they were wasting their time, anti-theft designs began outselling unalarmed versions, enabling CNE Tech to market its product in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.


Convenience versus security There is nothing to say that security cannot be convenient. The more convenient a security measure is, the more effective it becomes. Centralised locking in cars is a perfect example. A push of a button locks the entire vehicle – even relatively careless drivers are able to secure their car. Fingerprint, handprint or iris recognition systems at ‘hole-in-the-wall’ cash dispensers or other heavily used, high security access points would be far less of an inconvenience to users and far more secure against imposters.





The Design Against Crime (DAC) process has four stages that follow the conventional course of designing a product or place. The tools and techniques in this section can be used by designers and product developers to mould an approach that is suited to their own business context and that has crime deterrence at its heart.

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Reducing the vulnerability to crime of a product, service or environment is not something that can be done in halves. Bolt-ons don’t work. The more integrated anti-crime thinking is to the process, the more seamless the outcome will be.




The first stage of Design Against Crime (DAC) involves winning support for, and input into, the process from people inside and outside the organisation.

‘What’s in it for us?’ – The business drivers

‘What’s our approach?’ – Introducing a DAC strategy

‘Who can help?’ – Engaging stakeholders

It’s a question that is bound to arise before any organisation commits its own resources to the cause of crime prevention. DAC strategies can reward businesses in a number of ways for example, by helping them to:

A crime reduction strategy requires a long-term view, sustained by commitment, motivation, adequate resources and regular monitoring if it is to bring about results.

There is no shortage of people who will have their own view about crime risks. All are valuable.

• Gain competitive advantage • Protect their brands • Reduce theft • Become more socially responsible • Support local communities. There are other, detailed considerations involved in introducing a crime reduction strategy. To gauge the crime prevention value of investing in DAC, an organisation needs to determine how such a strategy would reduce the true costs of crime to the business and what other related benefits would accrue, such as closer links with law enforcement agencies. Designers, other team members and senior management need to be completely committed to the process. The dangers of it becoming isolated from the rest of the development programme cannot be stressed too strongly. Ideally, the project will be led by a senior manager. Once the organisation’s market and the needs of its stakeholders are fully understood, the opportunities that DAC presents can be identified and communicated.

For DAC to work, management must define both the role of crime prevention in their business and what to do about it. Clear goals need to be set alongside a budget and timescale. In developing a strategy, the following questions might help identify future trends and organisational capabilities. Answer them by considering what the organisation can do, what it would like to do and what it must do to respond. 1 External trends Are there emerging trends of criminal activity that could impact on your products or services? Are there technological developments that could make your products or services more vulnerable to or secure against crime? 2 Knowledge of markets and customers Do you approach your customers for suggestions on how to crime-proof your products? Do you gather feedback from service or repair personnel and insurance companies, specifically relating to risk and incidences of crime? 3 Crime and new product development (NPD) Does management undertake a crime risk assessment when developing new products? Do you gather crime intelligence? Do you place an emphasis on crime prevention measures in NPD?

Stakeholders first need to be identified. They might range from Government bodies and agencies to individuals. They divide into two groups: Internal stakeholders, who may include personnel from research, design, engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing, customer services and finance. External stakeholders, who may include customers, end users, suppliers, distributors, police and crime prevention agencies, academics, statutory agencies and any other parties with a contribution to make. It is especially valuable to engage those who have interviewed offenders and gained insight into their motives, logistics, favourite locations and modus operandi. Police and probation officers can offer a wealth of information on how criminals operate. Different stakeholders need to be engaged in different ways. A range of methods is needed, some more creative than others. But the cost of engaging them always needs to be justified, and the information gleaned must be recorded in a systematic and accessible way.





Purpose: To explore new ways of tackling crime and develop an action plan

Purpose: Exploiting stakeholders’ knowledge on crime issues early in the process

Participants: Senior management and other internal stakeholders

Participants: Multi-stakeholder group

Format: Brainstorm

Format: Workshop for 6–10 people, plus facilitator or group leader

Duration: 3–5 hours

Duration: 1 day

If the way forward for the business in the area of crime prevention is unclear, this tool can help to unmuddy the waters. Use it to bring ideas together from across the organisation on what the business can achieve, and how to achieve it.

This is one way of getting a wide variety of stakeholders on board the DAC process at an early stage and draws out information and experiences that could provide the seeds for new product concepts. Use it as the starting point for building an interdisciplinary team.

1 In groups of three or four, brainstorm types of ‘future crimes’. Think about: •New emerging targets for crime – eg electronic crime •New environments for crimes to emerge – eg different work and leisure practices •New niches for crime ‘promoters’ to exploit – eg re-chipping stolen mobile phones. 2 Now look for ways to reduce or counteract these future crimes Some solutions can be clustered together under one theme and given a single heading. 3 Vote on the top two or three possible solutions Then brainstorm the supporting factors for each solution, followed by the barriers/obstacles to it and action needed to overcome them. Example: Future crime: Credit card theft targeting electronic services Possible solution: Digital signatures Supporting factors: Availability of digital technology, consumer demand for electronic security, the increase in credit card theft/abuse, and the financial losses from it. Barriers and obstacles: Lack of necessary skills in-house to exploit such ideas; privacy issues; cost implications; implications for law enforcement; computer crime – hackers, viruses etc. Action: •Identify organisational capabilities, key opportunities, weaknesses •Research identification technologies •Identify appropriate manufacturers, consider cost implications •Involve multiple stakeholders with range of skills and capabilities •Research surrounding legislation •Research relevant crime data. 4 Organise your solutions in terms of the short (immediate), medium (up to one year) and long term (longer than one year). 5 Draw up an action plan Your plan should show the scope, checking points and participants in the process. Establish a budget and timescale to achieve these goals.

First, decide who should be involved. Everyone should be looking to identify opportunities for tackling crime in new and innovative ways. The team should include people who are familiar with different aspects of that type of product, such as technical developers, materials purchasers, marketing and sales personnel. Collaboration with other departments and external companies (customers and suppliers, insurance companies, etc) will enable you to share knowledge, best practice and development costs.

Fantasy phase Respondents come up with ideas in response to the problems they have encountered, with their desires, fantasies and alternative views. A selection should be made of the most interesting ideas and small working groups develop these into solutions and outline projects. Implementation phase At this stage participants need to critically assess the chances of getting their projects implemented, identifying the obstacles and imaginatively seeking ways round them so as to draw up a plan of action. The group should brainstorm all the potential problems that might crop up during each project. They then need to come up with possible solutions and, finally, generate a step-by-step plan, allocating tasks within the team.

COSTS OF CRIME TOOL Purpose: Introducing DAC to product development teams and multi-stakeholder teams Format: Group discussion Duration: 2–3 hours

Consider using skills and resources that reside outside the organisation, eg crime reduction bodies. Police and probation officers have a store of information derived from talking to offenders which provide insights into the scale and nature of criminal behaviour. THE WORKSHOP Choosing a topic: The facilitator should ask everyone to introduce themselves, say what they do and why they have come. If the various stakeholders are meeting for the first time, a good way to arrive at a common topic is to divide into groups of three or four people and allow 15 minutes for each group to identify a possible topic. The whole group should then vote for which topic to work on, possibly by allocating three or more votes to each member to distribute among the options as they wish (eg more than one vote on a single topic). There are three phases that need to be properly defined for the group by the facilitator. Each phase should last around two hours: •Critique phase •Fantasy phase •Implementation phase. Critique phase This is where any grievances and negative experiences relating to incidences of crime relating to the chosen topic (eg theft from person, burglary, car theft) are brought into the open.

Directly or indirectly, at some point in their life, everyone has paid a price for criminal behaviour. One way or another, we have all been victims – a fact that can be exploited to unlock understanding of how crime happens, what it costs and how it can be prevented by design. To begin with, those participating can be encouraged to recall their own experiences of crime. How were they affected? What about their family? What were the costs, financially, emotionally and psychologically? Focus on retail crime. Each year, £2.2billion of goods walk out of Britain’s shops, and it’s not just the big chains that lose out. For many independent retailers and shopkeepers, violence and regular, aggravated burglaries are a fact of life that can cause enormous personal distress. Putting itself in the place of such a shopkeeper, the group can consider: •The immediate, direct financial costs (eg loss of takings, higher insurance, extra security measures) •The costs to the wider community (eg of policing, insurance) •The intangible costs (eg the fear of crime, society’s attitudes towards it and ability to combat it). Finally, explore other questions, such as: •Is there a link between rising crime and extreme views? •Can certain social groups be stereotyped as ‘potential offenders’? •How does crime influence how we regard the police?




The development phase of DAC involves research to gain a deeper understanding of the possible risks and crime-related problems associated with the product or environment being designed. This body of knowledge can then inform the development of a design solution.

Assess the risk Ascertain what types of crime you will need to consider that might affect the design. These are the most commonly considered categories:

What’s in a criminal’s mind as they prepare to commit an offence? Questions such as:

•Theft •Burglary •Criminal damage •Violence against the person •Fraud and forgery •Robbery.

•Can I be seen? •If I am seen, will I be noticed? •If I am seen and noticed, will anybody take action? •Can my escape route be sabotaged?

Develop ideas To move from a picture of the crime risks surrounding a product or environment towards a design solution, the designer can employ DAC design tactics. These can help devise counter-measures to potential crimes, but obviously have to be considered within the context of what’s affordable and cost-effective.

Good design can make the answer to DAC design tactics each question, ‘yes’ Build in preventive measures to block Product designers have to think about to crime – make it more risky, more difficult what degree their design is likely to become or less rewarding. Next, gather information about: •The kind of environment(s) where the a target. For example, a product is more •Anticipate countermoves by the offender likely to be stolen if it is: crime occurs •The characteristics, behaviour and to those preventive measures •Concealable – easily hidden after the theft •Block countermoves, remaining aware motivation of offenders. •Removable – easily taken and transported of diminishing returns •Available – easily seen •Anticipate design failure or obsolescence – The characteristics of victims •Valuable – easily sold on Good sources of information about the make preventive measures easily present level and nature of crime and the •Enjoyable – easily enjoyed upgradeable •Act on several fronts simultaneously fear of crime, include: crime pattern analyses •Disposable – easily got rid of. CRAVED, Clarke (1999) from local police; crime surveys; research eg limit access, adopt reports; interviews with victims and surveillance, reduce temptation On a wider level, designers can scan •Acknowledge technological advances such ex-offenders; crime prevention experts emerging crime trends for potential future (eg Police Architectural Liaison Officers), as the the use of the internet to spread threats, eg rising concentrations of Crime Prevention Design Advisors and information about targets, weaknesses, incidents in an area and new genres of local partnerships; community groups criminal methods etc products or places that attract offenders. •Make preventive measures difficult to Transport Operators and local councillors; What economic and social trends will other designers, planners, developers, override, even if the offender knows how affect the product? The mobile phone, for builders and businesses. it works, eg encryption systems. example, has helped make drug dealing Adapted from: Future Crime Prevention – A ‘Mindset Kit’ more invisible and made children a target Anticipate crime problems for the Seriously Foresighted Ekblom, P (2000) for thieves. Could these developments Existing data and records are all well and have been foreseen? good. But a picture also needs to be developed of how criminals will react to How will trends such as the 24 hour culture, a new product or environment, so that globalisation, mobile communications their thoughts and actions can be blocked. growth and changing demographics alter To do this designers need to put themselves the product’s vulnerability to crime? in the shoes of the criminal. They need to Learn from good practice think thief. There is plenty of information on good practice in DAC, in the form of success stories and case studies, that may be useful in generating ideas or in learning how to apply knowledge about crime risks to the design process. Consult the Resources section on page 28 for more links.





Purpose: Designing with a criminal mind

Purpose: Filtering DAC concepts for feasibility

Participants: Product designers

Participants: Product development team

Format: Role-play/brainstorm

Format: Individual/group discussion

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

Duration: 1–2 hours

Design is all about getting inside the mind of the user and identifying their needs. In the case of Design Against Crime, designers also have to enter the mind of the misuser or abuser, in order to foil their intentions and ‘short-circuit’ the potential offender’s behaviour. We call this ‘thinking thief’. This role play tool is aimed at using that criminal frame of mind to help develop design solutions.

Usually, the first business test any product concept or idea must pass is that of affordability: would it be cost-effective to produce?

Each group of three to six people is assigned a different character with a history of crime-related incidents. Your task is to think about the places and objects that would pose a high crime risk for that character and to come up with design-related ideas that reduce that risk, eg by reducing the potential reward from the crime, increasing the risk of detection, or by demanding more skill, time or equipment on the part of the offender. 1 In each group elect one person to play the role of a criminal character: Either research your character through consultation with local police or probation, or use the following suggestions: • Jimmy, a young ram raider, involved in car crime • Phil, an opportunist burglar/scally • Jenny, a young shoplifter and prostitute who steals to order. This person should then build up their character, thinking about his or her age, family circumstances, personal relationships, education, employment situation, peer group, criminal record, past sentences, position in the community and so on. Allow 10–15 minutes to get familiar with the role. 2 Spend 20 minutes asking your criminal character questions about themselves, the types of crime they commit, situations where crime is undertaken etc.

At this stage, what is desirable must be traded off against what is feasible. A DAC feasibility checklist has been designed to help in identifying the most promising ideas. This process doesn’t take a long time, but it does require a structured approach for rating each concept, in terms of the costs which may occur throughout the product life cycle, from development through to use and disposal. Consider concepts which may focus on different issues such as: •Convenience •Safety •Aesthetics •Performance •Marketing. Rate each concept relatively on the following costs, on a scale from high to low. Materials costs: •Materials •Transport. Production costs: •R&D •Labour •Extra processes •Tooling, new plant •Assembly •Finishing. After-sales costs: •Maintenance, servicing •Upgrades •Disposal, recycling.

3 In your groups, spend a further 20 minutes coming up with a range of design-related ideas which will impact upon/reduce the nature of the offence your character has or is likely to commit. Ideally, come up with three solutions, including one blue sky idea. 4 Each group should present back their solutions. Capture the ideas, as they might stimulate future design projects.

COSTS OF CRIME TOOL (see page 21)




Why do people commit crime? It’s a vital question for anyone trying to combat it. Given that criminals will always try to beat crime prevention measures, any insights into the ‘chemistry of a crime’ – the chain of events that precede and follow an offence – are an asset in staying one step ahead. The Crime Lifecycle Model (opposite) has been developed to help designers address crime issues at the design concept stage. The Model embodies three key principles. 1 Offending behaviour can breed further offending behaviour, so the real key to sustainable crime prevention is to break this cycle 2 The cycle can be broken, and the crime can be prevented, by comprehensively addressing any one of the six ‘pre-crime issues’ (all of which are prerequisites to a crime) 3 Since it is unlikely that any measure will be 100% effective, ‘post-crime issues’ should also be considered and addressed if possible by the design, with the aim of breaking the cycle.

CRIME PROBLEM SOLVING Purpose: To help designers understand and address crime-related issues Participants: May include product designers, other DAC stakeholders, crime experts Format: Individual/group activity Duration: 2–3 hours

Crime doesn’t just happen. There is a chain of events Issue 4: Counteracting crime that has to occur and conditions that have to be •How could design help to block the crime? fulfilled before an offender breaks the law. This chain •What new attributes could the product have might fall into place quickly, instantaneously even, •What old ones could it lose that would in the case of opportunistic crimes, but it still has to reduce its crime risk? be intact for the crime to happen. Make a list of ideas. The Crime Lifecycle Model on page 25 explains Example: Mobile phone theft these ’pre-crime issues’. They relate to the offender’s circumstances, the scene of the future crime, the Readiness to offend: design attributes of a product and so on. •Want it and can’t afford it •Status symbol Crime Problem Solving is based on the model. It is a •Peer pressure. creative thinking process intended to help designers take measures that could break the chain of events Resources to offend: leading up to a crime. Refer to the Crime Lifecycle •Knife, other weapon Model when working through these exercises. •Dummy phone replacement. Designers and other stakeholders work through each of the four issues by focusing on a particular product and crime (eg mobile phone theft) while also thinking about human and environmental factors: possible scenes of the crime, the offender and the victim. Issue 1: Readiness to offend/resources to offend •What are the likely motives for the offender? •Make a list of what these might be. Relate them to possible pressures in the offender's life for example poverty and unemployment, and to their resources to avoid offending, eg literacy and social skills •Then list the resources the offender has to commit the crime – their skills, tools and knowledge. Issue 2: Offender’s presence in situation Where does the offender need to be to commit the crime? List the likely situations in which the offence could be carried out. Issue 3: Vulnerability to crime •The product you are focusing on will possess certain design attributes that make it vulnerable as a target or tool for a criminal. •Make a list of these. Think about characteristics – is it Concealable? Removable? Available? Valuable? Enjoyable? Disposable?

Offender’s presence in situation: •Public transport, eg crowded train •Shop •Footpath, quiet street. Vulnerability to crime: •Concealability •High visibility, in use •Unalarmed •Available – often left in bags etc. Counteracting crime: •Incorporate into other products eg clothing •Reduce visibility in high risk situations eg phone-free train carriages •Incorporate alarm system. Next steps: Group ideas into themes, and take a vote on which idea/theme to take forward and develop as a design solution. You will need to consider what barriers and obstacles might prevent the solution reaching the marketplace or prevent it being a success once it is there. Agree a plan on how to move forward. Allocate tasks within the team at each stage of the plan.



03 Designers will be familiar with conventional techniques such as SWOT and cost-benefit analyses. User trials and performance testing need to encompass how the product or place might be misused or abused. Fitness for purpose can be gauged from focus groups or expert appraisals.

Design solutions have to be validated fully before being made available or put on the market. They have to address the crimes identified and block their specific causes.

Feedback can be gained by: •Consulting crime prevention experts such as Police Architectural Liaison Officers, Crime Prevention Design Advisors, criminologists, community representatives, potential offenders and ex-offenders •Assessing compliance with the principals of crime prevention

•Comparing solutions with existing good practice and guidance •Using computer simulations to identify vulnerable points and features that facilitate crime, eg shadows, poor lighting and hiding places •Considering future scenarios, eg potential escalation of crime or hostile reactions to interventions.


DAC CUSTOMER FOCUS GROUPS Purpose: Testing and evaluating products qualitatively, pre- and post-launch Participants: Customers, marketing, product designers, other stakeholders and facilitator

The group Include as many customer types as possible, plus stakeholders who have experience of different types of customer such as in-house staff and external crime experts or police. Invite volunteers, some of whom have been victims of crime. Others may include the young, elderly and disabled people. You could also run focus groups with retailers, manufacturers, service engineers etc.

Format: Focus group Duration: 2–3 hours

You want to know what customers think of your product? Ask them. The focus group is a widely used tool in marketing and product development. Companies use it to explore customers’ perception and use of their own product, which may be on the market or at prototype stage, and of rival products. Employed much earlier in the design process, it can point up unarticulated or ’un-met’ needs of customers.

The process Provide a range of products to evaluate, plus a list of comparative products. Set up a video camera at the beginning of the session and leave this to play throughout the focus group sessions, including periods when the facilitator leaves the room and participants discuss the products on their own. Ensure from the outset that the group has no objection to being filmed. An introduction to the group and the process should be followed by workshop activities designed to help to explore how you believe customers feel about the DAC product/service you are providing.

•What are the innovative DAC characteristics? The focus group can involve designers and consumers •What are the key attributes or product features? •Are there any negatives for the user? working in collaboration to refine existing products •How is this best communicated to customers and to develop new ideas for next generation and suppliers? products. Given this kind of design focus, discussions, comparisons and role-plays can reveal the tangible Customers could take part in a role-play where and intangible qualities of products that matter to facilitators act out an aspect of product usage customers. It is vital that designers are part of these (eg a night out in town, shopping in the high street). exercises so that they can benefit fully from this Identify the types of crime that might occur, and new knowledge. make a record of possible solutions. Some suggestions will be based on real life experiences, others will be In a strictly DAC context, insights into a product’s new ideas and insights. vulnerability to crime and consumers‘ views of its crime-reducing measures could set off new trains In participant groups, use the comments you have of thought about product features or refinements. captured to brainstorm ideas for counteracting the It could just confirm that things are heading in the types of crimes they have imagined occurring. right direction, which is always good to know. Use flipcharts to capture information, including specific insights, anecdotes and comments.




Crime resistance can be a strong selling point. Exactly how strong can be a difficult judgment to make.

It is important to consider well in advance what aspects of the DAC strategy to use in marketing material or customer information, or even whether to make it public at all. Does raising awareness of a product’s crime resistance simply raise fears of its crime potential, and scare customers off? Or does it make them feel reassured, safer, more secure?

For future reference, it is essential to evaluate the customer response to the DAC solution, and also its response from offenders: how have they reacted and adapted to the measures? Have they developed ways of overcoming them, for example? Later models of the product could benefit from any such feedback to marketing, after-sales or service personnel.




Purpose: Developing a marketing strategy

Purpose: Testing market response to a new product

Participants: Marketing/product development team

Participants: Marketing/product development team

Format: Workshop/discussion

Format: Research activity

Introducing a crime-reducing product to its target market can be a sensitive balancing act. The marketing programme must consider how the core benefit of your DAC product or service offering is going to be delivered. Ideally, it should be developed in parallel with the product.

As with all new entrants to a market, there are usually surprises in store once a product hits the shelves. Evaluations of customer response rarely fail to throw up lessons that can be learnt from next time around.

The issues in this marketing checklist should be relevant to managerial decision-making much earlier on the development process. They should inform the marketing strategy. •Can the DAC merits that have been achieved be communicated convincingly to the marketplace? •Can such marketing assist product/service differentiation? •Can you involve opinion leaders who are considered experts on the topic? •Can you advertise in specialist magazines or journals? •Would it be useful to publicise any certification achieved, eg Secured by Design? •What aspects of the product prevent or inhibit crime? •What is the response of the users, criminals and crime prevention experts? •Can you include details of anti-crime attributes in manuals, advertising or customer literature? •Is the DAC improvement enough of a breakthrough to merit extra publicity, entry for an award or other recognition? •Does the product meet certain health and safety standards or pass inspections by an independent body?

The nature of DAC – designing with abusers in mind as well as users – makes such evaluations essential. Once the product is familiar, criminals may develop unexpected ways of using it for criminal activity. Users may find crime prevention measures unwieldy. This kind of information could be vital in informing later versions of the product, thereby actively reducing its crime risk. The DAC evaluation checklist is designed to help you consider ways to evaluate what impact the product/service has had in reducing crime. Base your evaluation research on the following questions: •How has the purchasing/consumption behaviour of customers/users/buyers altered as a result of DAC? •What aspects of the product prevented or inhibited crime? Investigate possible criminal counter measures. •What has been the response of users, criminals, crime prevention experts? •Are emerging ‘waves of crime‘ a threat to the product?





This guide builds on a programme of Design Council work funded through the Home Office Crime Reduction Programme and developed in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry. It began in 1999 with a research project exploring the use of design best practice to reduce crime, which was carried out for the Design Council by Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Salford and the Judge Institute of Management Studies. Building on the findings of this research, the Home Office has also funded the Design Council to develop a range of activities and resources to raise awareness of crime issues among designers and design educators including a collection of case studies, a national community-based design competition, a range of teaching resources and a professional development programme. More information about these initiatives, which have been developed for us by the Design Policy Partnership, can be found at In addition to this programme, the Design Council is also involved in a variety of complementary activities on the Design Against Crime theme. These include a touring exhibition and a retail crime project, as well as a CD-rom-based teaching package and a range of anti-crime bags, which have , P32been developed by Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design.

For a comprehensive A-Z guide to useful links, organisations and information go to the Design Against Crime Information Zone at For information and advice on how to prevent crime visit the Home Office’s crime reduction website: For more information about the Design Council visit: For more information about the Home Office visit:

Design Blast 020 7359 7422

Design Council 34 Bow Street London WC2E 7DL Phone +44 (0)20 7420 5200 Fax +44 (0)20 7420 5300 Email Registered charity number 272099 Š Design Council September 2003

Think Thief  

Think Thief