Professor Paul Ekblom

Emeritus Professor of Design Against Crime, Design Against Crime Research Centre

Central Saint Martins

Biography

Paul read psychology at University College London, where he also gained his PhD. He spent much of his career as a researcher in the UK Home Office, centring on crime prevention. He was involved throughout crime prevention’s rise from obscurity to widespread recognition by practitioners and policymakers in central and local government and beyond.

Paul initially worked on a range of individual crime prevention studies, practical demonstration projects and consultancies, including police truancy patrols, shoplifting, a feasibility study of the ‘Crime-Free Car’, drink and disorder in small towns, and crime on the London Underground. He then spent several years conceiving and orchestrating the industrial-scale evaluation of the impact and cost-effectiveness of the UK Government’s Safer Cities Programme on burglary, whose results strongly shaped the subsequent national Crime Reduction Programme. His own contribution to that Programme was (with policy colleagues in the Home Office, the former Department of Trade and Industry and the Design Council) to plan, commission and guide a range of initiatives on Design Against Crime (including Royal Society of Arts Student Design Awards, research by Salford, Sheffield Hallam and Cambridge Universities on the state of DAC in teaching, practice and industry and a range of guidance and support material emanating from that). He also (with Prof Ken Pease) inaugurated and advised the UK Foresight panel on Crime Prevention.

Paul has had extensive international involvement with EU, Europol, ICPC and UN, and was Scientific Expert on a Council of Europe initiative on Partnership in Crime Prevention. His final Home Office responsibilities focused on horizon-scanning, advising on Design against Crime initiatives (including advising on the production of Safer Places, the government guidance on planning and crime) and supporting the development of crime prevention as a professional discipline through a rigorous and systematic conceptual framework, the Conjunction of Criminal Opportunity, and a wider, process-based schema for capturing and transferring knowledge of good practice, the 5Is.

When the opportunity arose to expand his involvement in Design Against Crime by joining the Research Centre at Central Saint Martins, Paul made the transition to academia without hesitation. Over the course of seven years’ fulltime involvement at DACRC Paul contributed to teaching and wider University life including Research Ethics, and participated in or led projects ranging from Grippaclips against bag theft, to Bikeoff bike stands, to consultancy for the Urban Planning Council of Abu Dhabi, and development of a counterterrorism toolkit. He also provided crime science advice and perspectives on all DACRC activities. In 2012 Paul decided to cut down to 0.2FTE at Central Saint Martins and spend the other four days/week renewing involvement in mainstream crime science, working as Visiting Professor at the Department of Security and Crime Science UCL and the Applied Criminology Centre, Huddersfield University. Ongoing involvement at DACRC includes supervising one PhD student, advising on crime science perspectives in all project work, teaching in DAC studio classes and working on specific funded projects as these emerge.

Research interests

Theory, development, implementation and evaluation of Design Against Crime; definitions & conceptual frameworks for knowledge transfer of good practice in crime prevention; horizon scanning, including crime risk/ impact assessment; evolution, arms races, complexity and simulation applied to crime.

Research statement

Professor Paul Ekblom continues to develop concepts and language for describing/specifying security and security weaknesses in designed products, systems and environments, including the Misdeeds and Security framework and the Security Function Framework (Purpose, Security Niche, Mechanism and Technicality).

Paul recently published a book to elaborate key concepts, details and applications of the 5Is framework, an advanced process model for crime prevention, and used in capture, synthesis and retrieval of good practice knowledge, supporting intelligent replication and innovation.

He is also developing new ways of thinking about Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design based on a tighter conceptual/theoretical framework than currently exists.

Students

Alaistair Steele, Through the Hole in the Wall: the ATM as Tool of Users or Criminals in Digital/Public Space.

Selected research outputs

  • Evolutionary psychological influences on the contemporary causes of terrorist events

    Ekblom, Paul and Sidebottom, Aiden and Wortley, Richard (2015) Evolutionary psychological influences on the contemporary causes of terrorist events. In: Evolutionary Psychology and Terrorism. Political Violence. Routledge, London. ISBN 978-1-13-877458-2

  • Terrorism - lessons from natural and human co-evolutionary arms races

    Ekblom, Paul (2015) Terrorism - lessons from natural and human co-evolutionary arms races. In: Evolutionary Psychology and Terrorism. Political Violence . Routledge, London. ISBN 978-1-13-877458-2 (In Press)

  • Design and security

    Ekblom, Paul (2014) Design and security. In: The Handbook of Security (2nd ed.). Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 133-158. ISBN 9781137323279

  • Securing the knowledge

    Ekblom, Paul (2014) Securing the knowledge. In: The Handbook of Security (2nd ed.). Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 487-515. ISBN 9781137323279

  • Developing an alternative formulation of SCP principles - the Ds (11 and counting)

    Ekblom, Paul and Hirschfield, Alex (2014) Developing an alternative formulation of SCP principles - the Ds (11 and counting). Crime Science, 3 (2). ISSN 2193-7680

  • Afterword: Safety research on the move

    Ekblom, Paul (2014) Afterword: Safety research on the move. Security Journal. Special Issue: Safety on the move, 27 (2). pp. 257-261. ISSN 0955-1662

  • Designing Products Against Crime

    Ekblom, Paul (2014) Designing Products Against Crime. In: Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Springer Science+Business Media, New York, pp. 948-957. ISBN 978-1-4614-5689-6 (print) 978-1-4614-5690-2 (online)

  • Innovation and Crime Prevention

    Ekblom, Paul and Pease, Ken (2014) Innovation and Crime Prevention. In: Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Springer Science+Business Media, New York, pp. 2523-2531. ISBN 978-1-4614-5689-6 (print) 978-1-4614-5690-2 (online)

  • The security function framework: towards a systematic language

    Ekblom, Paul (2012) The security function framework: towards a systematic language. In: Design Against Crime: Crime Proofing Everyday Products. Crime Prevention Studies (27). Lynne Rienner. ISBN 9781588268136

  • Reducing bag theft in bars

    Ekblom, Paul and Bowers, Kate J. and Gamman, Lorraine and Sidebottom, Aiden and Thomas, Chris and Thorpe, Adam and Willcocks, Marcus (2012) Reducing bag theft in bars. In: Design Against Crime: Crime Proofing Everyday Objects. Crime Prevention Studies, 27 . Lynne Rienner, Boulder, Col.. ISBN 9781588268136