Design Out Crime

2008 – 2010

Design Out Crime works with young advisors, both pupils in schools and others not in formal education, to identify issues about crime.

It focuses on the young advisors’ experiences at school, on journeys to and from school, and in the community. As well as specific local issues, the programme has identified a series of common themes that affect young people nationwide, from poorly designed school lockers that increase the risk of theft and vandalism, to overcrowding and intimidation on buses and at bus stops.

The Challenge: The Design Out Crime process is mapped by young advisors


The Conversation: After mapping crime issues at school, the advisors from Basildon present their findings to the other teams


The Inspirational Visit: Young advisors from Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales, visit Arsenal's Emirates Stadium to learn about discipline and teamwork


The Presentation: Young advisors categorise the issues of crime they encounter on journeys to and from school. This presentation board looks at ‘People’


The Follow Up: Young advisors from London present their findings on crime to Jacqui Smith, former Home Secretary, at the Home Office


The Follow Up: Young advisors present their findings to 32 London Metropolitan Borough Police Commanders


These common themes are developed into working briefs for professional designers, actively demonstrating how well-designed solutions can make a real difference to the reduction and prevention of crime.

The process is adapted from the Foundation’s joinedupdesignforschools model; the young advisors undertake a series of meetings and conversations with professionals, creative workshops, and an inspirational visit. The programme culminates with a presentation to local decision-makers and community leaders. Advisers present their Young People’s Brief – a summary of their findings on crime issues.

“It is important to Design Out Crime because no one should be scared or terrorised by crime. If we get rid of crime or even help cut it, then it’s going to make everyone better. This programme has definitely changed my view of the way I look at crime within my local community”.

– Young advisor

“We currently address the issues raised today, but we don’t do it from young people’s perspective. The next step is for the group to come on the journey with us to make Merthyr Tydfil a very safe environment”.

– Chief Inspector, Merthyr Tydfil Police Service

“I think it’s important to Design Out Crime because then we know we’ve got a safer community. I’ve learnt that we can all work as a team and figure out things together”.

– Young advisor

“All the young people we have worked with are considered to be vulnerable, hard to reach and difficult to engage, and this is what makes their contribution, thoughts and feelings, much more important to hear. Their opinions on these issues are seldom heard by anyone, least of all by decision and policy-makers”.

– Bradford Metropolitan District Council


Design Out Crime establishes direct communication routes between young people and policy-makers. Young people’s voices are heard, and they become involved in decisions that will affect them. The reciprocal process gives professionals valuable insights into youth experiences of crime.

The model shows how in-depth and extended engagement with young people can inspire positive action, both locally and nationally. It was developed as part of an initiative from the Home Office’s Design and Technology Alliance against Crime and the Design Council.


Design Out Crime: What Young People Say

From 2008-10, the programme worked with 150 young people from six locations across England and Wales. This publication documents the complete Design Out Crime process and the young advisors’ findings on crime.

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