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Design Against Crime (DAC)

Design Against Crime (DAC), an initiative supported by the Home Office, the Department for Trade and Industry and the Design Council, aims to "embed crime prevention as an integral part of the design process" (DAC, 2005) and encourage the creation of crime resistant products.

  • “Design Against Crime follows the principle that if you reduce the opportunity for crime by making it difficult or risky, you put off the majority of potential criminals”
  • Therefore, “as well as thinking about how the product or service will be used [designers].. should also think about how it could be misused, misappropriated or mistreated” (DAC, 2005)

The Creative Crime Busting competition in 2002 set designers the challenge of “identifying everyday crime issues that could be tackled by the creative design thinking” (DAC, 2005)

The ‘hanBAGalarm’, by Ursula Sandau, from Sheffield Hallam University reduces the theft and illegal use of mobile phones by linking the bag to the owner via a visible device which acts as a deterrent to thieves. The alarm, attached to both the bag and the users jacket, is activated if the two are separated. It cannot be disabled without being reconnected. So if a thief snatches the bag, the noise of the alarm will remain with them.

A further example is the AlphaBar toughened beer glasses which aim to reduce ‘glassing’ incidents in pubs. If smashed, the toughened glass shatters into small pellets. By contrast, conventional glass creates jagged and pointed edges when it breaks which can be used as a weapon to inflict injuries on others.

design against crime
For More Information

For an introduction to Design Against Crime read:

Cooper. R (2005) Ethics and Altruism: 'What constitutes socially responsible design?', in: Design Management Review, Responsible Design, Vol. 16, Issue 3, pp. 10-18

For more detailed information visit the Design Against Crime website at:

For more information on the Creative Crime Busting competition entries visit: