This study tests the hypothesis that participation in a transcendental meditation (TM) program is related to the crime rate.
The experimental cities had populations larger than 10,000, in which 1 percent of the population had been instructed in the TM technique by the end of 1972. A control city was selected to match each experimental city on resident population, college population, and geographic region. Experimental cities had a mean percentage participation in the TM program of 1.21, while that of the control cities was 0.22 percent. Crime totals were collected for each of the experimental and control cities for each year from 1967 to 1977. The years 1967 to 1972 served as the preintervention period, while 1972-77 formed the postintervention period. The primary variable of interest was the change in the crime rate over these two periods. Crime rate figures were calculated as the number of FBI Crime Index crimes per 1,000 population. Data were employed to compare the equivalence of the experimental and control groups on the eight demographic variables selected, the preintervention values of crime slope, and predicted 1973 crime rate. A multivariate analysis was run to compare the two groups on the total of 10 variables. The groups were found to be significantly different. A decrease in crime rate was found in experimental cities. The decrease was evident both immediately after the cities reached the 1-percent level of TM program participation and in the crime rate trend during the subsequent 5 years. The findings imply that persons taking TM will influence others, including the crime-prone population. Two footnotes and 38 references are included.
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