DENIAL OF BENEFITS from criminal activity involves making the targets of theft valueless so thieves, robbers and others such as fences or end-buyers of stolen property do not benefit from stealing.


For example, mobile phones and PDAs that stop working once their owners realise they have been stolen and report them to the service provider, or simply operate through passwords that make objects difficult for anyone else to use. (Property marking with UV pens on objects or shopping tags that spoil clothing by releasing ink if they are removed illegally are further examples of marking objects valueless on use or resale, already covered under Identification above.) What links all these approaches is the attempt to reduce rewards from crime in a direct way via the object of desire itself.




Biomega Puma Anti-Theft Folding Bike
Adam Thorpe and Joe Hunter with Jens Martin Skibsted of Biomega


The designers Adam Thorpe and Joe Hunter at Vexed Design (and London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design) and Jens Martin Skibsted of Biomega have put their collective creative minds together to outwit the most savvy of folding bike thieves.


This ‘Urban Mobility bike’ is one example of how designers are attempting to reduce bike theft. It’s an uphill struggle, though. Figures from the British Crime Survey show that in 2005/06, a record 439,000 bicycles were stolen across England and Wales.


The Down Tube wire is a structural part of the frame – integrating the locking mechanism in the frame subsequently rendering the bicycle non functional through ‘spoiling’ if someone breaks the lock to steal the bicycle. An additional benefit is the reduced number of freestanding locks that the cyclist may have to carry.