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.