Researchers believe this is because religion not only teaches people about 'moral and behavioural norms', but also spending time with like-minded people makes it less likely they'll get mixed up with the 'wrong crowd'.Researchers didn't investigate more serious crimes, as they were too rare for the small group they had, but studied connection to eight varying types of delinquency including littering, skipping school or work, using illegal drugs, fare dodging, shoplifting, music piracy, property damage and violence against the person.
Gee, it's almost as if being in a place where people are urged to be at their best has a tendency to make people try be their best.
It's not even remotely the first time this sort of result has been found. A review article in 2011 looked at the results of 273 studies published between 1944 and 2010. He found that 90% of the studies “report an inverse or beneficial relationship between religion and some measure of crime or delinquency.” Less than 1% reported an opposite relationship.
Professor Byron began his article by noting that if the studies generally showed the opposite—that religion or church-going contributed to crime and delinquency—the press would be all over the story, and a Federal commission would doubtless be established to make sure Americans were officially notified that religious practice is deleterious to your social health.I've heard it said that religion is a false morality, and any morality based on fear of punishment is inferior to a "real", positive morality coming from concern for others. That might be true, but it's apparently not a completely ineffective way to run a society.