We live in a time of steadily increasing gun violence and police forces that few have faith in with the recent rise in domestic terrorism, police homicides, and urban violence. Danger could lurk around city corner and even within any uniform. I live less than 2 miles from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I now know people personally affected by gun violence. As a result, I naturally expect more from the people tasked with protecting our right to live free from violence.
This collection was borne out of a desire to examine the effect of human-centered design on how that right is protected, but also as a source of comfort to know that challenges are not taken lightly. The breadth and reach of human rights are constantly shifting and redefining, especially during the Digital Age, and as a result policing to protect those rights should also be able to redesign its practice as needed. The following articles cover solutions that were designed with behavioral economics and psychology in mind while still keeping the human firmly centered in its process.
The first article, set in Newburgh, New York, mentions my hometown directly when talking about cities that have implemented a tactic called Ceasefire, a proactive measure that uses “focused deterrence” to send messages of anti-violence from mothers, pastors, and youth leaders to targeted dangerous individuals. The city of Los Angeles enacts implicit bias training for police forces and backs up their teachings with documentation of hard numbers that prove to officers the bias involved in police violence. Minneapolis is taking a deep breath and studying de-escalation tactics, which oftentimes merely requires a waiting period and lack of weapons to diffuse a situation. Lastly, police across the US and UK strategize to recruit a more diverse workforce by rearranging, rewording, and redistributing their recruitment materials. The subjects of these four articles all utilize design-thinking — whether through graphic designers or behavioral psychologists — and all mark a distinct shift in how we protect our right to live free from violence.
Our issue area taxonomy was adapted from the PCS Taxonomy with definitions by the Foundation Center, which is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 International License.
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