The Royal Borough of Greenwich

The Royal Borough of Greenwich was suffering from continuing criminality and antisocial behaviour in the wake of the London riots of 2011. Greenwich Council needed to find a way of stopping the minority whose behaviour constituted a problem and of preventing them from destroying their own community. 

A simple but powerful measure was implemented – portraits of children who live in the area were spray-painted on shop’s protective shutters along one of the main streets. This made use of the influence principle, which in this case, means that a child’s face triggers a natural feeling of concern and care, which, in turn, counteracts antisocial behaviour. And because the children portrayed were the area’s own, this created a feeling of community, ownership, and social responsibility.

One year later, the police were able to report a link between the painting of the shutters and an 18% reduction in anti-social behaviour in the area. The project is now being trialled worldwide in order to fully understand the causal link between behaviour and children’s faces.