Design Against Crime: putting the conscience back into design

By Lorrin Windahl.

Today I want to write about a project I came across last year. Design Against Crime is an initiative that works on the premise that designing out criminal opportunities leads to designing out crime.

Stop Thief Chair designed by Design Against Crime. Image courtesy of www.stopthiefchair.com

Stop Thief Chair designed by Design Against Crime. Image courtesy of stopthiefchair.com

Starting its life as a practice-led design research project, DAC was instigated by Lorraine Gamman at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 1999. It was formally recognised as a research centre however, in 2005 and became known as the Design Against Crime Research Centre (DACRC). The centre and its projects are conducted by a team of academics, students and professional designers.

Grippa Clip designed by Design Against Crime. Image courtesy of grippaclip.com

Grippa Clip designed by Design Against Crime. Image courtesy of grippaclip.com

Since Design Against Crime was formed, they have worked on several projects to overcome crimes such as bag theft, bike theft and ATM scams. The Stop Thief Chair and the Grippa Clip are examples of their design solutions to address bag theft. The idea behind these products is that if you have somewhere secure to hang your bag it is less likely to get stolen.

CaMden bike stand by Design Against Crime. Image courtesy of broxap.com

CaMden bike stand by Design Against Crime. Image courtesy of broxap.com

Interestingly, in 2007 the NSW government launched an initiative to develop an Australian equivalent of the DACRC. As a result the University of Technology Sydney opened the Designing Out Crime Research Centre in 2008.

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