Monday, June 15, 2009

The devil is in the details - Designing Out Crime

Ever get irritated at the person who butts ahead of you in line? How about that cell-phone addict who forgets to signal and turns in front of you? Even worse - the Blackberry zombie who can't stop texting! Is rude and obnoxious behavior on the rise?

Rebecca Gaytko is my new urban planner friend from Dayton, Ohio. She participated in the recent SafeGrowth training in that city and, along with Chief Biehl, is among a small group of positive voices for SafeGrowth. Rebecca recently sent me this facinating article on bad behavior and design. read bad behavior blog

If SafeGrowth means safety inside a neighborhood (which it does), it must also mean the careful design of very small items in our lives. If safety emerges from urban designs that create positive experiences and opportunities for healthy, fun choices (which it does), it must also mean little things make a big difference.

There is an approach to crime prevention called Designing Out Crime (DOC). The DOC folks fix and tamper with the products of our lives - our cars, phones, purses - to reduce the risk of theft or their use in crime. In olden days we thought this the stuff of security companies. Nowadays it's a whole field of study read DOC research

Today DOCers have reinvigorated the design of products in new and interesting ways.

Nowhere are they more advanced than in the UK.

read about the UK Design Out Crime program

Rebecca reminds me we mustn't forget the importance of small items in our lives. True, they do not excuse bad behavior. But there is no doubt when it comes to our behavior, the devil is in the details.