People who regularly visit a place of worship are less likely to get involved in low level crime and delinquency, according to new research.
A survey from Manchester University found a direct correlation between higher visits to religious places and lower crime figures, especially in relation to shoplifting, drug use and music piracy.
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’.
As part of the project, more than 1,200 18 to 34-year-olds from across all the UK’s major faiths were were asked about their worshipping habits.
They were also asked about any past misdemeanours, and the likelihood they would commit low-level crimes in the future.
In total, researchers asked respondents about 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.
Although the study found varying degrees of correlation between increased church visits and decreased crime rates, the most significant were seen in relation to shoplifting, the use of illegal drugs and music piracy.
The researchers did not include more serious, high-level crimes because they ‘were too rare for the data to be able to show a significant pattern.’
SOURCE: VICTORIA WOOLLASTON