Design Council tackles thieves

A raft of crime-resistant products, including anti-dip bags and anti-theft chairs, could hit the market next year, following an exhibition at the Design Council as part of its ongoing Design Against Crime initiative.

Chairs are being tested in restaurants in London’s Covent Garden and a selection of bags are being developed in partnership with manufacturers. A Design Council spokesman says it is hoping the products will start to “come through commercially” next year.

Five chairs have been designed by Jackie Piper to foil bag-snatchers, featuring a device to secure bags to the seat.

Anti-dip bags, to frustrate pickpockets have been designed by Joanna Naumann and Kate Roath, among others, aim to foil pickpockets in the street and feature built-in handgrips and reinforced material, which means the straps cannot be slashed.

The exhibition, “In the Bag and Off the Wall”, is co-ordinated by Central St Martins College of Art and Design and sponsored by the British Council.

Dr Lorraine Gamman, senior research fellow at Central St Martins, says that the next step is addressing the problem of theft of electronic equipment, such as mobile phones.

She says phone theft increases after Christmas and is growing generally due to the burgeoning number of people with phones.

She is calling for mobile phone operators to work more closely with designers to counter the problem.

Sir John Stevens, commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, says: “Manufacturers and businesses can play a significant part in reducing the opportunities for criminals, by designing-out crime.”

The exhibition runs at the Design Council in London until 21 January.

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