The Ds Framework

This page sets out the Ds Framework and principles; how the Ds could be developed in future; who can benefit from using the Ds; how the Ds Framework relates to the Conjunction of Criminal Opportunity Framework, the Problem Analysis Triangle and the 25 Techniques of Situational Crime Prevention. This page also lists key publications and presentations; and explains how the Ds Framework originated.

What is the Ds Framework?

What are the Ds?

Each D principle is based on a distinct causal mechanism of security intervention, such as Deterrence.

Each D principle can be described in terms of how it bears on three domains of action:

  • Practical – limit what the offender can do by changing the environment and its contents)
  • Personal – spot, identify, track or trace offender)
  • Psychological – change how offenders perceive, think and feel, hence how they decide and perform)
  • Defeat – physically block access and movement or block/obscure the information that offenders want to collect
  • Disable/Deny – equipment helpful to offenders such as bugs or cameras
  • Direct/Deflect – move offenders towards/away from place or behaviour
  • Deter-known – offenders know what the risk of exposure is, and judge it unacceptable so abandon/abort hostile reconnaissance attempt
  • Deter-unknown – offenders uncertain what control methods they are up against, so again judge risk of exposure unacceptable
  • Discourage – offenders perceive effort too great, reward too little, relative to risk, so abandon/abort attempt
  • Demotivate – awakening, within offenders, motives/emotions contrary to the mission, e.g. empathy with potential victims, removing excuses, coward image
  • Deceive – offenders act on wrong information on risk, effort, reward, where to go etc, and are exposed to immediate arrest or protracted intelligence collection, frustrated, or mistakenly decide not to select this site as target
  • Disconcert – causing offenders to make overt involuntary movement or otherwise become startled
  • Detect – passive, and active exposure to make offenders reveal themselves by instrumental, expressive or involuntary action; by making legitimate presence/ behaviour distinctive; and by improving capacity to detect, of people exercising the security role
  • Detain – once offenders are detected, they must be caught and held (or credible identifying details obtained so they can be traced)

This diagram shows how each D bears on the different domains of action:

Note that the D principles are not fully separable in practice. A given practical method can activate multiple D principles. The Ds can interact – Detaining some offenders may Deter others, for example.

How could the Ds Framework be developed?

Below are ways in which researchers/practitioners could consider taking the Ds Framework forward.

Adding extra Ds
  • Dampen – provocations, prompts and pressures (suggested by Richard Wortley)
  • Diminish – excuses
  • Delay – used widely in security, as a practical brake on offender productivity, and perhaps a psychological influence serving to Discourage offending
Causal counterparts of the D principles
How criminals might use their own counterparts of the Ds
Developmental Ds

Describing ways of influencing developmental pathways to reduce the likelihood/severity of people/corporates embarking on a criminal career (though maintaining the ‘D’ initial may be challenging!)

Who can use the Ds Framework and how do they benefit?

By focusing more sharply on the offender dimension of situational intervention mechanisms, the Ds Framework may offer more flexible and tailored structuring of knowledge, thinking and communication among practitioners, researchers and designers.

The Ds Framework is an attempt to help practitioners and researchers alike to use ‘deter’ in a specific way rather than as a catch-all term for ‘any crime prevention mechanism’. In fact deterrence is just one specific set of mechanisms among many.

How does the Ds framework differ from alternatives?

The Ds do this to offenders CCO identifies causes of criminal events residing in these elements and their interaction
Defeat Target, Enclosure, Environment
Disable/deny Resources for crime
Direct/deflect Presence of offender
Deter-known Perception/anticipation
Deter-unknown Perception/anticipation
Discourage Perception/anticipation
Demotivate Readiness to offend
Deceive Perception/anticipation
Disconcert Readiness to offend, presence, perception/anticipation
Detect Presence of offender
Detain Presence of offender

Like the CCO Framework but less sophisticated, the PAT covers both causes of crime problems (i.e. patterns of criminal events), and the locus of preventive interventions, with the elements Target/Victim, Location, Offender. The Ds focuses on offenders and, in more detail, how the other elements of the crime situation influence them.

There is some overlap with the 25 Techniques of SCP, but the Ds:

  • Are more analytic, less a list of exemplars
  • Cover more of the ‘caused’ aspects of the offender (motivation etc) making it suitable for Advanced Persistent Threat actors as well as more casual offenders



How did the Ds Framework originate?

  • Risk (Deter)
  • Effort and Reward (Discourage)
  • Physical blocking (Defeat)
  • Deflection (Deflect from/ direct to)
  • Enforcement (Detect, Detain)
  • Restrict resources for offending (Disable/Deny)
  • Offender-oriented/ reverse Precipitation (Demotivate, Disconcert – idea suggested by one of the security managers in toolkit trial)

Colleagues contributing to 11Ds included Alex Hirschfield, Rachel Armitage, Kris Christmann, Jason Roach, Michelle Rogerson (Applied Criminology and Policing Centre, University of Huddersfield) and Marcus Willcocks (Design Against Crime Research Centre, University of the Arts London).