Engaging young people in designing against crime

Dr. Caroline. L. Davey
University of Salford (UK)
Andrew B. Wootton
University of Salford (UK)

Young people are being encouraged to participate in projects that have a direct impact on environments and spaces-i.e. on the public realm of towns and cities. In the UK and overseas, young people are engaged in design, planning and regeneration. This paper describes a programme developed by the Design Against Crime Solution Centre at The University of Salford (UK) in partnership with the young peoples charity Catch22 that engages young people in design-led crime prevention. Youth Design Against Crime (YDAC) is novel in that it targets young people labelled as ‘at risk of offending’ or ‘problem individuals’ by the police or education system. Supported by youth workers and teachers, and mentored by local police officers, teams of young people are challenged to address issues of crime and community safety occurring in the area in which they live using a process of research and design developed by the Solution Centre. Four YDAC projects have been initiated and evaluated to date. YDAC helps divert young people away from offending behaviour by improving their confidence, knowledge, qualifications and skills-particularly interpersonal skills and self-efficacy. YDAC also improved relationships between young people and the police. Since design solutions have been selected for implementation, there is a potential impact on crime and antisocial behaviour in the future.

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