JANUARY 12, 2022 — Drawing from the widespread belief across the U.S. about the benefits of religion, Jonathan Moreno-Medina, assistant professor of applied microeconomics at UTSA, is studying the causal effect of church attendance on crime and the role weather plays in this dynamic.
The UTSA researcher says that pinpointing the effect of church attendance on crime is not as straightforward as it sounds. Consider counties with low crime and high church attendance. Is it because church attendance lowers crime, or do places with low crime lead to larger congregations? Or, perhaps both high church attendance and low crime follow some other factor such as income or employment. To uncover the actual effect of church attendance on crime, one needs to consider changes in church attendance that would occur at random.
To describe the effect of church attendance on crime, Moreno-Medina considers a third factor: the weather. His idea is built around two findings. First, most religious services in the U.S. occur between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Second, when it rains at that time, there is a 17% drop in church attendance. Because rain at that specific time and crime can be considered to be random, he believes that by looking at the relationship between crime and the number of Sundays in a year in which it rained, he can evaluate the effect of church attendance on crime.
In his research, Moreno-Medina suggests several possible mechanisms linking religious participation and crime. Some of these mechanisms support the idea that religious participation reduces crime while others oppose it. One example of the former is the belief that people will be punished in an afterlife for committing crimes. On the other hand, religious affiliation can generate conflict across groups and thus increase certain types of crimes. Moreno-Medina argues that these hypotheses can be tested scientifically using data.
Using hourly precipitation data collected by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Moreno-Medina spent two years exploring the relationship between county-level rain during church and crime between 1980 and 2016.
He found evidence that church attendance was correlated with a reduction in yearly drug-related, alcohol-related and white-collar crimes. He also found that these correlations were stronger in more religious counties. His research builds on previous evidence showing that church attendance decreases the consumption of alcohol and drugs.
He did not, however, find evidence that church attendance had any correlation with more serious crimes such as murder, robberies or aggravated assault.
Moreno-Medina’s study builds the case that religious participation can alter certain behaviors, such as drinking alcohol, consuming drugs,and their related crimes. But the exact way in which this effect comes about is still unclear.
In the future, he plans to explore whether changes in beliefs, peer effects or other factors are at the center of the church attendance/crime relationship.
“This is important because we want to know what about church attendance can be replicated by other public policies, and which are unique to it,” Moreno-Medina concluded.
UTSAPD and Emergency Management will host a table with safety information, give-a-ways and interactive demonstrations. Both departments will provide information on services available to the UTSA Community.Student Union Window Lounge, 1.02.00C
The Adobe Creative Campus Kickoff will introduce students to Adobe software and how they can use it to both produce professional content for their courses as well as how they can create content for their side hustle. The hour-long session will teach you how to gain FREE access to downloadable software such as Photoshop and Illustrator as well as web-based programs such as Adobe Spark. Want to learn more? Contact William.Schaefer@utsa.edu.Virtual Event
This event has been revised into a two part event. This event will be held virtually while a follow-up event on-campus will be scheduled sometime after Feb. 6th. Please follow our RowdyLink page for information on the next event.Virtual Event
Come and meet your First-Year Experience (FYE) UPM Peer Mentor! As a first-year student at UTSA, you will be meeting with a peer mentor in your Academic Studies area. Your peer mentor is here to support and guide you academically and socially, as you navigate your first year of college. Your UPM Peer Mentor will be emailing you a unique Zoom link to their UPM Meet & Greet!Virtual Event
The UTSA Zoom license will provision your UTSA email account with a Higher ED Pro Zoom account that comes with multiple features. Join us as we review these features. including best practices, for using this software for education and think about the best way to use it in, for, and with our digital classrooms.Virtual Event
A restorative justice virtual conversation to process thoughts and emotions as our community continues to navigate the impacts of Covid-19.Virtual Event
Join us for our Spring 2022 virtual get-together where you can meet the Student Success Team, Faculty, and Peer Mentors in the College for Health, Community and Policy (HCaP). This will be a great opportunity to get connected to the HCaP community and meet other HCaP students. Plus, you get to learn about services offered through the new HCaP Student Success Center.Virtual Event
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.