Nudge; don't judge:using nudge theory to deter shoplifters

Sharma, Dhruv and Kilgallon Scott, Myles (2015) Nudge; don't judge:using nudge theory to deter shoplifters. In: 11th European Academy of Design Conference, 2015-04-222015-04-24, Paris Descartes University.

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Crimes defined as “acts attracting legal punishment” are injurious to the community because they violate moral rules (Blackburn, 1993). However, not all crimes are deemed worthy of a custodial sentence. For example, the criminal act of shoplifting usually only results in jail time for repeated offences (Doughty, 2006). And research indicates that the threat of imprisonment may not be an effective deterrent for potential shoplifters (Gonnerman, 2004). The notion that shoplifting is detached from the victim (Wilkes, 1978, Ecenbarger, 1988) and common to all socioeconomic classes affords the perception that shoplifting is a “victimless crime” to many. In this paper we suggest an alternative approach to tackling the problem. We examine whether deterrents engaging ‘nudge theory’ (Thaler and Sunstein, 2008) can discourage shoplifting. We review ‘design against crime’ literature and compare case studies to explore a new approach to preventing crime, using nudge as a theoretical framework. Our paper discusses how ‘rationality’ may influence criminal behaviour; that individuals indulge a “moment” of rational thinking before acting and how contemporary ‘design against crime’ techniques manipulate this thought-process to deter criminal behaviour. We argue that ‘nudge theory’ provides an interesting antithesis. To design against shoplifting using the theory of “nudge” we assert that people make choices non-rationally and can be deterred from situational crimes by designing environments with different contextual cues (Bonell et al., 2011) that deter crime. We call upon the design research community to discuss; debate and design with nudge theory as a preventative approach to shoplifting.

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Contribution to Conference (Paper)
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11th European Academy of Design Conference
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Deposited On:
30 Jan 2015 11:33
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 14:08