Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Could babies' faces reduce crime?

After looking at the topic of crime and design for my dissertation, specifically "What role can designers play in crime prevention within the urban environment and how this can influence society as a whole", this was one angle that I did not come across when researching the topic.

One section in my dissertation focussed largely on the London Riots and what people believed to be the cause of these. There was so many case studies I trolled through and many people offered their opinions on why they believed the riots occurred. Referring to a book I read in my second year of University "The Tipping Point", there is a chapter in this book which is of most interest to this topic - "The Power of Context". In this chapter it talks about our susceptibility to our surroundings and how certain stimuli in these can cause us to behave in a certain way. So what really was the reason for the riots occurring? According to Malcolm Gladwell who is the author of "The Tipping Point", there is not just one reason for causing certain events to happen but a whole series. So will painting babies on a wall really reduce crime?

An experiment is being run in South - East London at the moment to see if this really can help play a part in crime reduction. In an area that was badly hit by looters in the riots, these babies appear after shop opening hours when the shop shutters come down and watch over the area. According to studies from as long ago as the 1940s, the effect that seeing an image has on a baby has on an adult creates a positive response.

After compiling research throughout my dissertation, I am yet to be convinced this is a worthwhile method of crime prevention...

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