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Regulating Crime Prevention Design Into Consumer Products: Learning the Lessons From Electronic Vehicle Immobilisation

NCJ Number
Rick Brown
Date Published
June 2013
8 pages
Drawing on lessons learned from Australia's successful regulation that motor vehicle manufacturers include electronic vehicle immobilization in vehicle designs in order to discourage vehicle theft, this report discusses the practice of government regulation of product design in order to prevent theft of consumer products.
Given evidence that electronic vehicle immobilization has successfully reduced vehicle theft in Australia and other countries, eight lessons are drawn for the government regulation of consumer product designs for the purpose of reducing product theft. First, be clear about how a design regulation can prevent theft of the product. Second, give careful consideration to whether or not government intervention in product design is the most cost-effective way to prevent theft of a particular product. Third, any proposed design change should be monitored to determine its effectiveness over time, since potential thieves are always changing their methods in order to defeat particular theft prevention measures. Fourth, the design change should be convenient for the user of the product, i.e., the usefulness and effective functioning of the product should not be compromised by design mandates. Fifth, some displacement of theft to other products or unaffected jurisdictions is acceptable. Sixth, the impact of a design change on the product's theft rate takes time. Seventh, the effectiveness of the design change on the product's theft rate should be monitored over time. Eighth, the savings gained by lowering the theft rate should outweigh the cost of the regulation. 14 references