This paper reports the results of a prospective experiment in which a group of approximately 4,000 participants in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi assembled in Washington, D.C., from June 7 to July 30, 1993. It was hypothesized that levels of violent crime in the District of Columbia would fall substantially during the Demonstration Project, as a result of the group's effect of increasing coherence and reducing stress in the collective consciousness of the District. A 27-member Project Review Board comprising independent scientists and leading citizens approved the research protocol and monitored the research process. Weekly crime data was derived from database records provided by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (DCMPD), which are used in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. Statistical analysis considered the effect of weather variables, daylight, historical crime trends and annual patterns in the District of Columbia, as well as trends in neighboring cities. Consistent with previous research, levels of homicides, rapes and assaults (HRA crimes) correlated with average weekly temperature. Robberies approximately followed an annually recurring cycle. Time series analysis of 1993 data, controlling for temperature, showed that HRA crimes dropped significantly during the Demonstration Project, corresponding with increases in the size of the group; the maximum decrease was 23.3% (p < 2 × 10−9) [24.6% using a longer baseline, with 1988--1993 data (p < 3 × 10−5)], coincident with the peak number of participants in the group during the final week of the assembly. When the same period in each of the five previous years was examined, no significant decreases in HRA crimes were found. Robberies did not decrease significantly. However, a model that jointly estimated the effect of the Demonstration Project on both HRA crimes and robberies showed a significant reduction in violent crimes overall of 15.6% (p = 0.0008). Further analysis showed that the effect of the coherence-creating group on reducing HRA crimes could not be accounted for by additional police staffing. The time series analysis for HRA crimes gave results that are highly robust to alternative model specifications, and showed that the effect of the group size was cumulative and persisted after the Demonstration Project ended. Also, calculation of the steady state gain based on the time series model predicted that a permanent group of 4,000 coherence-creating experts in the District would have a long-term effect of reducing HRA crimes by 48%.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Abrams, A. I. and L. M. Siegel: 1978, 'The Transcendental Meditation program and rehabilitation at Folsom State Prison: A cross-validation study', Criminal Justice and Behavior 5(1), pp. 3–20.
Alexander, C. N., M. V. Rainforth and P. Gelderloos: 1991, 'Transcendental Meditation, self-actualization, and psychological health: A conceptual overview and statistical meta-analysis', Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 6(5), pp. 189–247.
Alexander, C. N., P. Robinson, D. W. Orme-Johnson, R. H. Schneider and K. G. Walton: 1994, 'The effects of Transcendental Meditation compared to other methods of relaxation and meditation in reducing risk factors, morbidity, and mortality', Homeostasis 35, pp. 243–263.
Alexander, C. N., P. Robinson and M. V. Rainforth: 1994, 'Treating and preventing alcohol, nicotine, and drug abuse through Transcendental Meditation: A review and statistical meta-analysis', Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11, pp. 219–236.
Alexander, C. N., K. G. Walton, E. Marks and D. McLeland: <nt>in press</nt>, 'Multidimensional assessment of personality development in maximum security prisoners practicing the Transcendental Meditation Program (Part I)', Journal of Offender Rehabilitation.
American Psychological Association: 1993, Violence and Youth: Psychology's Response, Volume 1. Summary report of the Commission on Violence and Youth (American Psychological Association,Washington, DC).
Attar, B. K., N. G. Guerra and P. H. Tolan: 1994, 'Neighborhood disadvantage, stressful life events, and adjustment in urban elementary-school children', Special Issue: Impact of poverty on children, youth, and families, Journal of Clinical Child Psychology 23(4), pp. 391–400.
Bleick, C. R. and A. I. Abrams: 1987, 'The Transcendental Meditation program and criminal recidivism in California', Journal of Criminal Justice 15, pp. 211–230.
Box, G. E. P. and G. M. Jenkins: 1976, Time Series Analysis: Forecasting and Control (Holden-Day, San Francisco).
Brenner, M. H.: 1976, 'The impact of social and industrial changes on psychopathology: A view of stress from the standpoint of macrosocial trends', in L. Levi (ed.), Society, Stress, and Disease (Oxford University Press, Oxford).
Brenner, M. H.: 1980, 'The influence of economic stress on criminal aggression', in M. Molotof (ed.), Colloquium on Stress and Crime, Volume 2 (The Mitre Corporation, Bedford, MA), pp. 143–146.
Brooks, J. S. and T. Scarano: 1985, 'Transcendental Meditation in the treatment of post-Vietnam adjustment', Journal of Counseling and Development 64, pp. 212–215.
Bureau of Justice Statistics: 1988, The Seasonality of Crime Victimization (No. NCJ-111033) (Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC).
Bureau of Justice Statistics: 1997, Changes in Criminal Victimization, National Crime Victimization Survey, 1994–95 (No. NCJ-162032) (Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC).
Castaneda, R.: 1991, 'Winterkill and Washington', Washington Post (December 5), p. C5.
Chalmers, R. A., G. Clements, H. Schenkluhn and M. Weinless: 1989a, 1989b, 1990, Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and Sidhi Program: Collected Papers, Volumes 2–4 (Maharishi Vedic University Press, Vlodrop, Netherlands).
Cheatwood, D.: 1995, 'The effects of weather on homicide', Journal of Quantitative Criminology 11(1), pp. 51–70.
Cohen, J.: 1988, Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ).
Cotton, J. L.: 1986, 'Ambient temperature and violent crime', Journal of Applied Social Psychology 16, pp. 786–801.
Cranson, R.W., D.W. Orme-Johnson, J. Gackenbach, M. C. Dillbeck, C. H. Jones and C. N. Alexander: 1991, 'Transcendental Meditation and improved performance on intelligence related measures: A longitudinal study', Personality and Individual Differences 12, pp. 1105–1116.
Davies, J. L. and C. N. Alexander: 1989, 'Alleviating political violence through enhancing coherence in collective consciousness', paper presented at the 85th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (September). (Refer also to Dissertation Abstracts International, 49(8), 2381A, 1988.)
Dillbeck, M. C.: 1990, 'Test of a field theory of consciousness and social change: Time series analysis of participation in the TM-Sidhi program and reduction of violent death in the U.S.', Social Indicators Research 22, pp. 399–418.
Dillbeck, M. C. and A. I. Abrams: 1987, 'The application of the Transcendental Meditation program to corrections', International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 11(1), pp. 111–132.
Dillbeck, M. C., C. B. Banus, C. Polanzi and G. S. LandrithIII: 1988, 'Test of a field model of consciousness and social change: The Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program and decreased urban crime', The Journal of Mind and Behavior 9(4), pp. 457–486.
Dillbeck, M. C. and E. C. Bronson: 1981, 'Short-term longitudinal effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on EEG power and coherence', International Journal of Neuroscience 14, pp. 147–151.
Dillbeck, M. C., K. L. Cavanaugh, T. Glenn, D. W. Orme-Johnson and V. Mittlefehldt: 1987, 'Consciousness as a field: The Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program and changes in social indicators', The Journal of Mind and Behavior 8(1), pp. 67–104.
Dillbeck, M. C., G. S. Landrith III and D. W. Orme-Johnson: 1981, 'The Transcendental Meditation program and crime rate change in a sample of forty-eight cities', Journal of Crime and Justice 4, pp. 25–45.
Dillbeck, M. C., H. I. Msemaje, B. M. Clayborne and S. L. Dillbeck: 1990, 'Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program with low income inner city children', paper presented at the 98th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA (August).
Dillbeck, M. C. and D. W. Orme-Johnson: 1987, 'Physiological differences between Transcendental Meditation and rest', American Psychologist 42, pp. 879–881.
Dillbeck, M. C. and M. V. Rainforth: 1996, 'Impact assessment analysis of behavioral quality of life indices: Effects of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program', 1996 Proceedings of the Social Statistics Section, American Statistical Association (American Statistical Association, Alexandria, VA), pp. 38–43.
District of Columbia Government: 1996, Crime and Justice Trends in the District of Columbia (Office of Grants Management and Development, Washington, DC).
Eppley, K., A. Abrams and J. Shear: 1989, 'The differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: A meta-analysis', Journal of Clinical Psychology 45(6), pp. 957–974.
Federal Bureau of Investigation: 1982–1987, 1993–1996, Crime in the United States, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995: Uniform Crime Reports (U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC).
Ferris, C. F. and T. Grisso (<nt>eds.</nt>): 1996, 'Understanding Aggressive Behavior in Children', Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 794 (The New York Academy of Sciences, New York).
Gelderloos, P. and W. P. van den Berg, 1989: 'Maharishi's TM-Sidhi program: Participating in the infinite creativity of nature to enliven the totality of the cosmic psyche in all aspects of life', Modern Science and Vedic Science 2, pp. 373–412.
Gest, T.: 1994, 'Cost of crime: $674 billion', U.S. News and World Report (Jan. 17), pp. 40–41.
Goodman, R. S.: 1997, The Maharishi Effect and government: Effects of a national demonstration project and a permanent group of Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program practitioners on success, public approval, and coherence in the Clinton, Reagan, and Bush presidencies (doctoral dissertation) (Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA).
Granger, C. W. J.: 1990, 'Aggregation of time series variables: A survey', in T. Barker and M. H. Pesaran (eds.), Econometric Modelling (Routledge, London), pp. 17–34.
Granger, C. W. J. and P. Newbold 1974, 'Spurious regressions in econometrics', Econometrics 2, pp. 111–120.
Granger, C. W. J. and P. Newbold 1977, Forecasting Economic Time Series (Academic Press, New York).
Greenwood, P. W., C. P. Rydell, A. F. Abrahamse, J. P. Caulkins, J. Chiesa, K. E. Model and S. P. Klein: 1994, Three Strikes and You're Out: Estimated Benefits and Costs of California's New Mandatory-Sentencing Law (RAND, Santa Monica, CA).
Hagelin, J. S.: 1987, 'Is consciousness the unified field? A field theorist's perspective', Modern Science and Vedic Science 1, pp. 28–87.
Hagelin, J. S.: 1998, Manual for a Perfect Government (Maharishi University of Management Press, Fairfield, IA).
Hagelin, J. S., D. W. Orme-Johnson, M. V. Rainforth, K. Cavanaugh and C. N. Alexander: 1994, 'Results of the national demonstration project to reduce violent crime and improve governmental effectiveness in Washington, D.C., June 7-July 30, 1993', Preliminary Technical Report ITR-94:1 (Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA).
Harries, K. D.: 1990, Serious Violence: Patterns of Homicide and Assault in America (Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, IL).
Hatchard, G. D., A. J. Deans, K. L. Cavanaugh and D. W. Orme-Johnson: 1996, 'The Maharishi Effect, a model for social improvement: Time series analysis of a phase transition to reduced crime in Merseyside metropolitan area', Psychology Crime & Law, 2(3), pp. 165–174.
Humphrey, J. A. and S. Palmer: 1986, 'Stressful life events and criminal homicide', Omega 17(4), pp. 299–308.
Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy: 1993, An experimental test in Washington, D.C. of a new program to reduce violent crime through collective stress reduction using the Transcendental Meditation program (unpublished document) (Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA). International Criminal Police Organization: 1994
International Crime Statistics: 1994 (Interpol General Secretariat, Lyons, France).
Johnston, J.: 1984, Econometric Methods (Third Edition) (McGraw-Hill, New York).
Kelling, G. L., T. Pate, D. Dieckman and C. E. Brown: 1974, The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment: A Summary Report (Police Foundation, Washington, DC).
Lanford, A. G.: 1990, 'Reduction in homicide in Washington, D.C. through the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field, 1980–1983: A time series analysis', in R. A. Chalmers, G. Clements, H. Schenkluhn and M. Weinless (eds.), Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TMSidhi Program: Collected Papers, Volume 4 (Maharishi Vedic University Press, Vlodrop, Netherlands), pp. 2600–2608.
Larimore, W. E.: 1983, 'Predictive inference, sufficiency, entropy, and an asymptotic likelihood principle', Biometrika 70, pp. 175–181.
Larimore, W. E. and R. K. Mehra: 1985, 'The problem of overfitting data', Byte 10, pp. 167–180.
Leenars, A. A. and D. Lester: 1994, 'Domestic and economic correlates of personal violence in Canada and the United States', Giornale Italiano di Suicidologia 4(1), pp. 7–12.
Lester, D.: 1986, 'The interaction of divorce, suicide, and homicide', Journal of Divorce 9(3), pp. 103–109.
Lewis, D. O., R. Lovely, C. Yeager and D. D. Femina: 1989, 'Toward a theory of the genesis of violence: A follow-up study of delinquents', Journal of American Academic Child Adolescence Psychiatry 28(3), pp. 431–436.
Linsky, A. S. and M. A. Straus: 1986, Social Stress in the United States: Links to Regional Patterns of Crime and Illness (Auburn House, Dover, MA).
Liu, L.-M., G. B. Hudak, G. E. P. Box, M. E. Muller and G. C. Tiao: 1986, The SCA Statistical System: Reference Manual for Forecasting and Time Series Analysis (Scientific Computing Associates, DeKalb, IL).
Lyubimov, N. N.: 1992, 'Mobilization of the hidden reserves of the brain', in Program Abstracts of the 2nd Russian-Swedish Symposium, 'New Research in Neurobiology', (Brain Research Institute, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow).
MacLean, C. R. K., K. G. Walton, S. R. Wenneberg, D. K. Levitsky, J. V. Mandarino, R. Waziri, S. L. Hillis and R. H. Schneider: 1996, 'Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on adaptive mechanisms: Changes in hormone levels and responses to stress after four months of practice', Psychoneuroendocrinology 22, pp. 277–295.
MaharishiMahesh Yogi: 1978, Enlightenment and Invincibility (Maharishi European Research University Press, Rheinweiler, Federal Republic of Germany).
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: 1995, Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Government (Second Edition) (Age of Enlightenment Publications, India).
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: 1996, Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Defence (Age of Enlightenment Publications, India).
Mauer, M.: 1995, 'A crime bill to bust budgets', State Government News, 38(4), p. 18.
McCleary, R. and R. A. Hay, Jr.: 1980, Applied Time Series Analysis for the Social Sciences (Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CA).
Merton, R.: 1938, 'Social structures and "Anomie" ', American Sociological Review 3, pp. 672–682.
Michael, R. P. and D. Zumpe: 1983, 'Annual rhythms in human violence and sexual aggression in the United States and the role of temperature', Social Biology 3, pp. 263–278.
Nelson, C. R.: 1976, 'The interpretation of R2 in autoregressive-moving average time series models', The American Statistician 30, pp. 175–180.
Nidich, S. I., R. A. Ryncarz, A. I. Abrams, D. W. Orme-Johnson and R. K. Wallace: 1983, 'Kohlbergian cosmic perspective responses, EEG coherence, and the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program', Journal of Moral Education 12(3), pp. 166–173.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: 1993, Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders (Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC).
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: 1996, Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1996 Update of Violence (Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC).
Orme-Johnson, D. W.: 1987, 'Medical care utilization and the Transcendental Meditation program', Psychosomatic Medicine 49(1), pp. 493–507.
Orme-Johnson, D. W.: 1994, 'Transcendental Meditation as an epidemiological approach to drug and alcohol abuse: Theory, research, and financial impact evaluation', Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11, pp. 119–168.
Orme-Johnson, D. W., C. N. Alexander, J. L. Davies, H. M. Chandler and W. E. Larimore: 1988, 'International peace project in the Middle East: The effects of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field', Journal of Conflict Resolution 32(4), pp. 776–812.
Orme-Johnson, D.W. and J. T. Farrow: 1977, Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program: Collected Papers, Volume 1 (Maharishi European Research University Press, Rheinweiler, Federal Republic of Germany).
Orme-Johnson, D. W., R. K. Wallace and M. C. Dillbeck: 1989, 'Longitudinal effects of the TM-Sidhi program on EEG phase coherence', in R. A. Chalmers, G. Clements, H. Schenkluhn & M. Weinless (eds.), Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected Papers, Volume 3 (Maharishi Vedic University Press, Vlodrop, Netherlands), pp. 1678–1686.
Peppler, D. J. and K. H. Rubin (<nt>eds.</nt>): 1991, The Development and Treatment of Childhood Aggression (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ).
Petersilia, J.: 1993, 'Crime and punishment in California: Full cells, empty pockets, and questionable benefits' (CPS Brief) (California Policy Seminar, Berkeley, CA).
Phillips, D. P.: 1986, 'Natural experiments on the effects of mass media violence on fatal aggression: Strengths and weaknesses of a new approach', in L. Berkowitz (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (No. 19) (Academic Press, New York).
Plosser, C. I. and G. W. Schwert: 1978, 'Money, income, and sunspots: Measuring economic relations and the effects of differencing', Journal of Monetary Economics 4, pp. 637–660.
Police Foundation: 1981, The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment (author, Washington, DC).
Pope, M. K. and T. W. Smith: 1991, 'Cortisol excretion in high and low cynically hostile men', Psychosomatic Medicine 53, pp. 386–392.
Prentice, D. A. and D. T. Miller: 1992, 'When small effects are impressive', Psychological Bulletin 112, pp. 160–164.
Raine, A., P. Brennan, B. Mednick and S. A. Mednick: 1994, 'Birth complications combined with early maternal rejection at age 1 year predispose to violent crime at age 18 years', Archives of General Psychiatry 51, pp. 984–988.
Raine, A., P. Brennan, B. Mednick and S. A. Mednick: 1996, 'High rates of violence, crime, academic problems, and behavioral problems in males with both early neuromotor deficits and unstable family environments', Archives of General Psychiatry 53, pp. 544–549.
Rainforth, M. V., C. N. Alexander and C. R. Bleick: <nt>in press</nt>, 'Transcendental Meditation program and criminal recidivism in Folsom State Prison, California: A 15-year follow-up', Journal of Offender Rehabilitation.
Reiss, A. J. and J. A. Roth: 1993, Understanding and Preventing Violence (National Academy Press, Washington, DC).
Roth, R.: 1994, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation (Revised Edition) (Primus, New York).
Sapolsky, R. M.: 1992, Stress, the Aging Brain, and the Mechanisms of Neuron Death (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA).
Sapolsky, R. M.: 1996, 'Why stress is bad for your brain', Science 273, pp. 749–750.
Seeman, T. E. and B. S. McEwen: 1996, 'Impact of social environment characteristics on neuroendocrine regulation', Psychosomatic Medicine 58, pp. 459–471.
Shaw, C. and H. McKay: 1942, Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas (University of Chicago Press, Chicago).
Sherman, L. W., D. Gottfredson, D. MacKenzie, J. Eck, P. Reuter and S. Bushway: 1997, 'Preventing crime: What works, what doesn't, what's promising'. A report to the United States Congress, prepared for the National Institute of Justice (Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland, College Park, MD).
Shibata, R.: 1983, 'A theoretical view of the use of AIC', in O.D. Anderson (ed.), Time Series Analysis: Theory and Practice (No. 4) (North-Holland, New York), pp. 237–244.
Sommers, I. and D. R. Baskin: 1993, 'The situational context of violent female offending', Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 30(2), pp. 136–162.
Straus, M. A.: 1980, 'Stress and physical child abuse', Child Abuse and Neglect 45, pp. 75–88.
Subrahmanyam, S. and K. Porkodi: 1980, 'Neurohumoral correlates of Transcendental Meditation', Journal of Biomedicine 1, pp. 73–88.
Tannenbaum, F.: 1938, Crime and the Community (Ginn, Boston).
Travis, F. and D. W. Orme-Johnson: 1990, 'EEG coherence and power during yogic flying', International Journal of Neuroscience 54, pp. 1–12. United Kingdom Prison Service: 1994, Prison Statistics, England and Wales (Government Printing Office, London).
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 1994, Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives-Review 1994 (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC).
Vandaele, W.: 1983, Applied Time Series and Box-Jenkins Models (Academic Press, New York).
Vaux, A. and M. Ruggiero: 1983, 'Stressful life change and delinquent behavior', American Journal of Community Psychology 11(2), pp. 169–183.
Virkkunen, M., J. DeJong, J. Bartko, F. K. Goodwin and M. Linnoila: 1989, 'Relationship of psychobiological variables to recidivism in violent offenders and impulsive fire setters: A follow-up study', Archives of General Psychiatry 46, pp. 600–603.
Wallace, R. K.: 1970, 'Physiological effects of Transcendental Meditation', Science 167, pp. 1751–1754.
Wallace, R. K., P. J. Mills, D. W. Orme-Johnson, M. C. Dillbeck and E. Jacobe: 1983, 'Modification of the paired H-reflex through the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program', Experimental Neurology 79, pp. 77–86.
Wallace, R. K., D. W. Orme-Johnson and M. C. Dillbeck: 1990 & <nt>in press</nt>, Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected Papers, Volumes 5 and 6 (Maharishi University of Management Press, Fairfield, IA).
Walton, K. G. and D. Levitsky: 1994, 'A neuroendocrine mechanism for the reduction of drug use and addictions by Transcendental Meditation', Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11, pp. 89–117.
Werner, O. R., R. K. Wallace, B. Charles, G. Janssen, T. Stryker and R. A. Chalmers: 1986, 'Long-term endocrinologic changes in subjects practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program', Psychosomatic Medicine 48, pp. 59–65.
About this article
Cite this article
Hagelin, J.S., Rainforth, M.V., Cavanaugh, K.L.C. et al. Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Preventing Violent Crime in Washington, D.C.: Results of the National Demonstration Project, June--July 1993. Social Indicators Research 47, 153–201 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1006978911496
- Violent Crime
- Demonstration Project
- Uniform Crime Report
- Transcendental Meditation
- Crime Trend