CLAMED

This Acronym is how the Design Council believe us designers should approach crime.

 

Clarify problem and tasks

Over the last decade, the problem of crime has been

substantially clarified, with recognition that much

behaviour is shaped by situation rather than disposition,

and that a blame-oriented approach to crime reduction

will prove an expensive failure. We now see crime

as an arms race, and with that comes recognition

of the importance of the design of products and systems

in driving down crime. The task of crime reduction

therefore lies substantially in manipulating products

and systems in a timely way.

 

Locate institutions

If our view of crime is soundly based, which institutions

can help? Central government is relevant, by its own

purchasing power and its control of benefits and taxation

systems to shape the purchasing power of citizens in

crime-reductive ways.

 

Alert

Perhaps the most pressing challenge is to make the

institutions located aware of the range of possibilities.

We are fortunate in having a model for this in the recent

advance of green issues up the political and business

agenda. In just a decade, environmental factors have

become part and parcel of the design of products and

services. We are now on the threshold of the crimereductive

equivalent of eco-design.

This process of awareness-raising could soon see

environmental impact analyses supplemented by crime

impact analyses. Environmental impact analyses set out

incidental consequences not generated by malice; crime

impact statements add effects of innovation driven by

malice. The Thatcham Centre already routinely attack-tests

new cars for the insurance industry. Police architectural

liaison officers advise on building design before any

construction occurs. Individual technology companies carry

out attack-testing on products but the results are

confidential. One change of great importance would be

for the Home Office, through its Crime Reduction College

at Easingwold, to re-jig police data collection procedures

so that they do not concentrate on events within

a particular legal category, but on a particular kind of

emerging problem (such as the loss of air-bags from cars).

 

Motivate, Empower and Direct

In general, we are left with the level and profile of crime

that our physical and social arrangements dictate. To make

crime reduction happen, the key is to make people want to

make it happen. I opened by remembering the reaction of

the SMMT to the idea that they should be involved in

crime reduction. Now vehicle theft is reducing year on

year, and the target of a 30% reduction by 2004 looks more

realistic than it did when it was set. What happened is

instructive. The Home Office commissioned a feasibility

study on the optimistically labelled ‘crime-free car’. Later,

it began preparing its Car Theft Index, making the public

aware of which makes and models were most likely to be

stolen. The then Home Secretary Kenneth Baker called in

motor manufacturers and told them to improve security.

New models became subject to attack-testing at Thatcham

and the results informed insurance grouping for the model.

There were thus incentives for security improvements in

both brand image and attractiveness to consumers.

Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 provides at

least one means by which local authorities are required to

anticipate crime consequences, since such anticipation is

necessary to protect authorities from legal actions brought

by citizens who have suffered from a ‘foreseeable crime’.

S17 may turn out to be the crucial step in breaking the

innovation – crime cycle.

 

 

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