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Yes, These London Businesses Hope Painting Baby Faces on Their Stores Will Reduce Crime


"...babies' faces, the round cheeks and the big eyes, promote a caring response in human beings."

The store fronts of shops in southeast London were badly damaged after the riots in 2011. In an effort to clean up and prevent future crime, the Green's End stores are trying an experiment with murals showing the of babies.

Not just any babies faces either -- local babies were painted on the shutters of store fronts as part of the Babies of the Borough experiment, according to BBC.

BBC reports Tara Austin with the advertising agency in the U.K. that initiated the experiment saying "evidence suggests that babies' faces, the round cheeks and the big eyes, promote a caring response in human beings."

Zaffar Awan, who owns a mobile phone shop that was attacked by looters in 2011, said a little boy named Max is painted on his store's shutters and he has seen those walking by smile at the scene.

"I wish we could keep the shutters down and open the shop at the same time," Awan said to BBC. "That would be ideal."

This time-lapsed video shows an artist painting one of the baby faces:

The video's description states that the project will be evaluated by comparing public crime statistics in the area before and after the project.

"We hope an increased sense of pride will lead to a sense of belonging and a drop in crime stats," the video's description says.

Here's a second time-lapse showing the artwork being done:

BBC notes this is not the first time the city has experimented with behavioral modification by changing the environment. Controversial sound emitting devices -- the Mosquito Anti-Loitering Security Device -- is used in some areas to prevent groups from congregating with its annoying noise. Other less controversial audio tactics include playing classical music, which was said to reduce crime in metro stations. BBC also reports some areas have installed pink lighting that is said to accentuate teens' acne, causing them to avoid those areas as well.

The Babies of the Borough project hopes this will be an inoffensive way to reduce crime in areas prone to it.

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