Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Crime Prevention Studies, Volume 18

Designing out Crime from Products and Systems, Volume 18

Edited by Ronald V. Clarke and Graeme R. Newman

Buy this volume from Lynne Rienner Publishers


Title and copyright pages
Modifying Criminogenic Products–What Role for Government?
by Ronald V. Clarke and Graeme R. Newman

Many ordinary manufactured products provide the means or the temptation to commit crime, and the introduction of new products, such as the cell phone or bank machines can create a crime “harvest.” “Manufacturers have modified dozens, perhaps hundreds of these criminogenic products to make them less attractive to criminals, mostly for commercial reasons, but in some cases under government pressure. This chapter reviews the international experience of modifying products, whether these are the targets or the tools of crime. It describes the range of products modified, the successes that have been achieved and the scope for further changes provided by new technology. It explains why governments have become increasingly drawn into product change, it examines the different roles they have taken, and it identifies the role of other agents of change such as the media or pressure groups. It concludes discussing the difficulties for governments of taking a more proactive role in product change, including the reluctance of business and industry to accept their roles in causing (and preventing) crime, pressures to avoid business regulation, and difficulties of obtaining international cooperation in changing products. Greater than any of these difficulties, however, is the size and complexity of the undertaking, resulting from the variety of industries and businesses involved, the sheer number of criminogenic products, the bewildering speed of their development, their technical nature and the complexity of the information and service-delivery systems of which many are a part. Governments should establish dedicated units to promote product change. These units should: (1) seek to avert crime harvests by identifying potentially troublesome new products and, (2) develop a problem-solving capacity to deal quickly with unforeseen crime threats caused by the criminal exploitation of new and existing products.

Partners against Crime: The Role of the Corporate Sector in Tackling Crime
by Jeremy Hardie and Ben Hobbs

What companies produce, and the services they provide, often create significant opportunities for crime. Companies are better placed than anyone else to reduce those opportunities and that is the basis of their responsibility to do so. Their contribution to crime prevention is of enormous potential. This chapter sets out to answer three questions. First, what are the limits of a company's responsibility to prevent the criminal misuse of its products and services? Second, where does its responsibility end and that of the state begin? Third, what public policy framework–law, regulations, incentives, and guidance–should government set in place to encourage and persuade companies to mainstream crime prevention thinking at the design stage of their products and services and to redesign them if the crime potential emerges after the product or service is already on sale? It is argued that companies' responsibility for tackling crime can, but does not always, fit with the business case (that is, it may not always be in the direct financial interests of the company to contribute). But companies, and their staff in particular, are motivated by more than profit. The chapter concludes that companies' contribution to crime prevention is very significant, but that there has been surprisingly little recognition by government or the public of the contribution that they have made.

Promoting Design against Crime
by Simon Learmount

This paper reports the findings of research that aims to cast light on the current state of crime-resistant design in the U.K It identifies the various factors that directly or indirectly influence the capacity (for example, competence, resources, training, and education) and motivation (for example, incentives, self-interest, legislation, social conscience) of designers and businesses to incorporate crime-resistant features into the design of products, in order to make some initial recommendations as to how this might be improved. First examined are military design and ecodesign, to ascertain whether there are any lessons that might be usefully transferred to the area of crime-resistant design. Considered next is how crime resistance is currently incorporated into design education and practice, and what might be done to raise awareness of the issue amongst design educators and designers themselves. This is followed by an examination of the new product/service development process in various companies operating in six different sectors–car manufacture, train carriage manufacture, school commissioning, house building, e-commerce and consumer electronics–in order to understand how best to persuade industry to take greater account of the crime resistance of their products and services. Next, a survey of consumer attitudes towards crime-resistant design is reported; these are thought to be of key importance in encouraging businesses to design against crime. Finally, the main conclusions are drawn together to make some suggestions as to how crime-resistant design might be facilitated.

Breaking the Cycle: Fundamentals of Crime-proofing Design
by Rachel Cooper, Andrew B. Wootton,Caroline L. Davey and Mike Press

"Design Against Crime" aims to embed crime prevention within design through education and professional practice, and reflects the widening agenda for design professionals. This paper considers design as an essential contributor to product experiences, including that related to crime and fear of crime. This paper argues that crime issues must be considered within design and new product development processes. Four fundamental principles of design against crime are presented: consult, develop, test and deliver. As part of the development and testing stages, ideas and concepts need to be generated that address causes of crime, as identified by criminologists. This paper presents the Design Policy Partnership's Crime Life-Cycle Model to help designers understand and effectively address causal mechanisms. The authors conclude that further design-centred resources are required to promote a more empathetic and holistic approach to crime prevention.

Designing Out Crime from the U.K. Vehicle Licensing System
by Gloria Laycock and Barry Webb

Recent research has shown that electronic immobilization, compulsory on all new cars sold in the European Union since 1998, has been effective in reducing levels of vehicle theft. This is likely to have been more effective in preventing opportunistic temporary thefts, rather than permanent thefts motivated by profit This paper examines the changing age profile of stolen vehicles and concludes that, while electronic immobilization has had an impact on temporary theft, there are signs that professional thieves may have found new methods to overcome the security.

Security Coding of Electronic Products
by Ronald V. Clarke and Graeme R. Newman

It is well established that certain products create opportunities for crime because they are useful "tools" for criminals or they lack security features that make them ready targets for theft. This paper takes the first step towards establishing "crime proofing" codes that assess the vulnerability to theft of one class of products: portable electronic devices. We begin by proposing a general framework for thinking about security codes, the main elements of which are: (1) corporate social responsibility, and (2) the economic arguments for regulating negative externalities produced by industry, of which product related crime is one. This analysis leads to the conclusion that the most efficient form of regulation would be a voluntary code, administered by the electronics industry (specifically its trade associations), with some limited but crucial support from government. A draft security code is constructed based on two dimensions: (1) the intrinsic "hotness" of the product derived from previous research, and (2) the security features that have been built into the product or its marketing.