Monday, 16 November 2009

Assignment 3 - Bibliography and Top Websites

For our third assignment we were asked to create a bibliography of sources which we feel would benefit our research into our chosen subject. I began my research by using Crosssearch and the online library catalogue, searching key words such as: car, theft, street, crime, etc until I felt I had a substantial number of possible sources. I then went to the main library and browsed the sections where the books I had found online were. I was hoping to find a few extra books that may have been useful although they were all pretty out dated. I still didn't feel my sources were specific enough so I searched again online and discovered a couple of papers in the Law Library matched my subject. I searched the surrounding shelves again to see if there were any other relevant books/ papers. Some of my sources I believe will be much more useful than others although each source gave me a better insight into car theft and the way in which the criminal mind works. These are the journal articles and books which I believe have broadened my understanding:

Cherbonneau, M, Copes, H, (2006), ‘DRIVE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT’ Auto Theft and the Illusion of Normalcy, British Journal Of Criminology Vol 46, No.2, University of Missouri, Advance Access

I discovered this journal on the Library Journal archive and found it related well to my chosen subject of car theft. It explains how research has been carried out to explain how car thieves think and the manner in which they behave to avoid attention from the police when driving a stolen vehicle. I feel this article would be useful in my research as it gives an insight into how criminals think and the decisions they make, which is extremely important if designing a solution to the problem they cause. Criminals are not deterred by the consequences and punishment of their actions. They are although aware of them and so therefore they are much more cautious during each stage of vehicle theft. Understanding the car thief’s intelligence would be vital in my search for a design solution.

Cornish, DB, Clarke, RB, (1986), The Reasoning Criminal, Rational Choice Perspectives on Offending, New York, Springer-Verlag

After looking through research in a journal article on the way a criminal thinks, I found this book. It focuses on the decision making of the offender as they commit a crime, such as car theft. I feel this research by criminologists; psychologists and economic researchers would be relevant as it would give me an insight into how their minds work. Hopefully I could gain some understanding of the individual decisions they make. As this book was published in 1986 the information may not be completely up to date, although it acts as a good base line for my understanding of the thought processes of committing a crime. The book also explains how crucial the situations criminals find themselves in are in helping to prevent crime and looks into coming up with deterrents and prevention policies. It will help me understand how different situational factors (i.e. criminal event) can change a criminal’s strategic thinking. Another possible problem with this book is that although it researches “A Decision theory of Crime and Robbery” it does not specify direct car theft research.

Jeffery, CR, (1971), ‘Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design’, California, Sage Publications INC

This book is primarily looking into prevention of crime mainly in urban areas. It explains how crucial planning in built up areas is in lowering crime rate. To prevent car theft, the environment/ situation in which a vehicle is in is very important. This book may highlight the kinds of areas where cars should be left to prevent theft, such as on main streets with lots of passing traffic so thieves feel they are being watched or alternately locked away in garages. This book could possibly be out of touch with the culture of today as it was written in the 70’s so some of the issues may have already been addressed.

Lu, Y, (2003), Getting Away with the Stolen Vehicle: An Investigation of Journey-after-Crime, The Professional Geographer Vol 55, Issue 4, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing

In this article I found some more information on areas of car theft I had previously explored. These included, understanding the routes thieves take after the initial vehicle theft, the most likely places the stolen vehicles will be found and the ‘journey-after-crime’ (patterns of thieves routes) . Chop shops, where cars are dismantled and the parts are sold on separately are ‘hot spots’ for stolen vehicles as this is a common way for the criminals to make the vehicles difficult to recover. In order to come up with a solution I must be aware of the problems already facing the police trying to recover these vehicles. Therefore I would be able to work on creating a way to prevent the car thieves primarily reaching these chop shops.

Sallybanks, J,(January 2001), ‘Assessing the Police Use of Decoy Vehicles’, Police Research Series, Paper 137, London, Crown Publishing

I think this series of papers from the Law Library may be the best example of useful source information I have found so far. This section of research papers is focused specifically on combating car theft. It includes information on the use of police decoy vehicles which act as traps in areas with high vehicle theft. These decoy vehicles are usually the same car models that are most likely to be targeted. They can be fitted with devices which trap the criminals inside and prevent the thief from leaving the scene. They are only one method in a large scale crackdown on vehicle theft. I feel information on this type of solution to vehicle theft would be greatly beneficial in my research. Understanding successful methods and products which are already out there will give me an idea of what already works so I could built on them.

Sallybanks, J, Brown, R, (1999), ‘Vehicle Crime Reduction: Turning the Corner’, Police Research Series, Paper 119, London, Crown Publishing

My final source also focuses on car theft and contains information on which cars are likely to be stolen, where the best and worst places to leave your car are and the type of people most at risk of having their car stolen. This will be beneficial as the information is highly reliable due to the writers being members of the Home Office Policing and Reducing Crime Unit. This source contains an overview of vehicle crime and ways in which the problem is being assessed. I found reading even small sections of this extremely helpful as I feel I understand which methods of prevention have worked in the past. I feel reading the full paper would help my understanding even more.

To finish I have included 5 design related websites and 5 general websites which I find inspirational:

Inspirational Websites

Design Websites:

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Cultures Project Continued ...

I've not really posted much of my sketchbook content so far, so I thought I would give you a peek at how my 'Cultures' project is going. I visited Holy Trinity Church in St Andrews and took some photos of its beautiful stained glass windows. I completed a few sketches whilst I was there too, which were mainly based around shape and colour. I have developed these drawings further and I'm currently incorporating my ideas into fabric samples. I will post a few pages of my sketchbook later in the week.
I have already spent a week printing, which I found slighlty frustrating as I didn't feel I acomplished what I set out to do as the colours in my samples aren't as I would have liked and my prints in general not controlled enough. Although, I definately found the week helpful as I have learnt the different overall effects each type of printing can have.
I've just finished a weeks block of mixed media which I really enjoyed. I have tried to incorporate as much of my sketchbook into my design samples as possible. Here are some of my samples I have created over the past few days:

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Catherine Hammerton's Work

I've been aware of Catherine Hammerton's work for a while now and last weeks mixed media block reminded me of her beautifully constructed wallpapers and soft furnishings. She uses a range of techniques in her floral and vintage inspired work. I would love to own one of her pieces, but I'm pretty sure that won't happen anytime soon. Check out her website:

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Design Solutions Through Thought Process

For the final part of the second Design Studies task, we were asked to create a poster of our research on a specific problem/issue and clearly illustrate our thought process, showing possible solutions. I chose to look into the issue of Car Theft, by researching methods and products which could possibly reduce the majority of cases. I also looked at what is already out there and the main reasons behind car theft to gain a better understanding of the issue as a whole. This is my finished poster:

I began by looking into which vehicles are most at risk, and I wasn't surprised by my findings. It's pretty obvious that cars with belongings visible to passers by were a target, along with older, less security intelligent vehicles and vehicles left in derelict areas. I then went on to gain a better understanding of how the situation of the car is very important: home, street, car park, showroom/garage. Car thieves these days are intelligent and have new techniques as they understand that in order to have the best chance of a clean getaway they must insure that they don't set off an alarm. They use a long pole with a hook attached to the end to reach through your letter box and grab your keys. In doing this they can just drive away without causing any disturbance ensuring that the missing car is not reported for longer. Cars can be shipped off-shore within the hour. Car keys stolen during burglaries is common:

The public clearly need to be made more aware of this issue to ensure they are not making themselves an easy target. A simple way of doing this would be through leaflets to every door or posters clearly visible. Getting neighbourhoods involved in informing their community of the problem. But would this really work? do we need shock tactics for people to take notice or is getting them involved in some way to directly combat the issue in problem areas a stronger idea? Electronic immobilisers although an anti-theft deterrent, are useless in this case as the thief has the keys so no unauthorised starting of the engine is taking place. Alarms are also useless although in reality they are pretty useless anyway. How often do you think when you hear a car alarm sounding, "A car is being stolen!"? The majority of the time you just think how annoying someone turn it off ! This is due to too many false alarms and car alarms unreliability. This is another issue needing addressed in the fight to prevent car theft.

Continuing to think about situation and security lead me to remember experiencing parking in Britain's safest car park, Bold Lane in Derby. At the time I was shocked at the technology involved in keeping the publics car's safe for 20p extra per hour. Unlike the majority of car parks Bold Lane is equipped with panic buttons, locked entry doors, a huge CCTV network and intelligent sensors. These sensors detect if the car moves whilst it is still stored on the system database. If the individual card has been activated by adding a unique number to the system but has not been deactivated at the entrance door, it results in a system lock down which is impossible to escape. Surely people would pay the extra money if a car park in a problem area had this technology to ensure the safety of their car. Would it be possible one day for all car parks to be this safe?

I feel like I'm asking too many questions here, so finally I have come up with some methods of prevention. Already out there are steering wheel locking devices and, engine turn off devices, kill switches and GPS vehicle tracking. So I thought about making each car uniquely coded to it's owner. This could be done through storing the individuals finger print or eye(iris) into a database in the car. The fingerprint detector could be located in the side paneling of the car door and the eye identifier could be located in the windscreen or in the above paneling. It would be made impossible to start the engine of the car unless the owner was present and impossible to enter the vehicle unless force was used. To accommodate for cars with multiple owners/drivers their details could be entered to only on request. If a car was sold on then the previous owner would also have to be present to agree to the changing of the database content and for their details to be wiped or transferred to another vehicle.