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Think Thief

by msecadm4921

Designers have a key role to play in tackling crime, along with the police, crime prevention agencies and town planners, according to a report from the Design Council called Think Thief.

Supported by the Home Office, as part of the Government’s Crime Reduction Programme, Think Thief is a guide to how design can be used to combat thieves and criminals.

Urging designers to think not just about the user, but also about the misuser, Think Thief asserts that designing against crime is an effective way to beat muggers and thieves. It highlights ingenious design solutions which have thwarted would-be criminals, including:

*toughened beer glasses which shatter into harmless pieces, reducing violent glassing attacks in pubs and bars
*improvements to ‘in store’ crime prevention methods in Tesco supermarkets
*a secure car parking system, where the chance of having cars stolen or damaged is next to zero because of an innovative high tech sensor built into every car parking space which detects whether the vehicle is moved.

David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council, says of the report: ‘Crime and fear of crime is a huge burden for the police and for society. To relieve this burden, the design community needs to look at ways of supporting the efforts of the police and other agencies in the fight against crime. Designing against crime offers a strong, viable solution.

‘Designers are doing a lot already, but this report serves as a timely reminder of what more can be done. The designer who puts themselves in the place of an offender – who thinks like a thief – can make a huge difference. It may seem a lofty ideal, but the design community can and does make the world a safer place. As the report says “be a hero. Have a go and design to make a difference.”’

The Minister responsible for crime reduction, Hazel Blears, says: ‘Crime has fallen by 25 per cent since 1997. But as criminals become more sophisticated we need to become more ingenious at outwitting them.

‘This is where designers can play a key role. By placing crime prevention at the centre of the design process, their talents can be used to produce products which are less likely to be stolen or used in violent attacks.

‘The excellent ‘Think Thief’ guide highlights several case-studies such as the toughened pint glass which can’t be used as a weapon and the redesigned Tesco stores which make shop-lifting more difficult and create a safer environment for staff and customers.

‘These are excellent examples of what can be achieved when designers anticipate the actions of criminals and integrate these crime considerations into the design process.

‘Designing out crime makes good business sense because it helps protect businesses and their customers. If we can raise awareness of the part design can play in reducing the opportunities for crime we can reduce even further the menace of crime. I hope this guide will inspire others to help achieve the low crime society we all want to see.’

John Purnell, Group Loss Prevention and Security Director for Tesco, said: ‘Designing against crime is a major part of the Tesco security strategy. It is a feature woven into our property planning and construction process. By applying a few simple design rules we prevent crime and that brings benefits for our customers and staff.’

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