The Design Against Crime Research Centre (DACRC) was approached by Hammersmith Police in 2010 to see if they could help reduce ATM crime in the borough. The multi-agency collaboration aimed to trial a new, more ‘user friendly’ version of ATM safety zone boxes, building upon a successful 2007 Manchester Police pilot, and also investigate new creative ways to tackle theft and fraud linked to ATM use, by influencing user behaviours within the streetscape.
Police have introduced yellow traffic-style ATM safety zone boxes in many UK streets but banks and businesses view these as bad for business as they send negative messages to customers about the safety of the location. DACRC worked with artist Steve Russell to produce an aesthetically appealing ‘defensible space’ for ATM users, deterring shoulder surfing and distractions by pickpockets.
“I was aware that raising awareness amongst the public could sometimes be seen in a negative way within the local business community… What we wanted to achieve were designs, which would be seen as positive, innovative and create a talking point.” - Paul Truman, Hammersmith Police
Police monitored the ATM Art zones for three months and found them successful in reducing ATM crime and in 2012 RBS commissioned a rigorous evaluation of ATM Art in Westminster and Camden with a view to ‘rolling out’ the concept nationally if it proves to be effective.