If somebody truly wants to adhere to the teachings of a religion then yes, it's likely that it will make somebody less prone to commit crimes. It's really a matter of if somebody is fully committed to a religion or only point to it for guidance when it's convenient for them. The latter is far more common.
Yes, I think that religion can be a deterrent against criminal behavior. Those people who strongly prescribe to a major religion seem to be less likely to commit crimes, and will have a strong moral compass than those who choose not to participate in a religion and not have a core values system.
Yes, I do believe that religion can be a deterrent against criminal behavior. Religion promotes love, justice and peace and surely all of that can deter criminal behavior. Religion teaches people to be calm and to look to the scriptures for guidance. All of this promotes better people in society who will not become criminals.
Although there are numerous cases where someone with a professed religious belief has committed crimes, there are also untold situations where religion has prevented criminal activity. One of the problems with this question is that it seems to equate morality with criminality. In many countries, morality is closely related to criminal behavior - however something that is moral is not always legal, and something which is illegal is not always immoral. Religions, and any form of morality code, serve to help individuals interact with society (along the same morality codes), and drive behavior (positively or negatively). A result of this moral authority that religion has for some individuals has caused many individuals to "think twice" about their actions before partaking in them - leading, in many instances, to cases where religion has deterred crimes.
I am an atheist, but even I can see the use in religion to control people's behaviors. If people believe that sinful behavior will land them in hell, they will be less inclined to sinful choices. This is a reason why religion has always been linked to power: it is mind control.
If religion prevents or stops crime then why has crime been around forever? Clearly in earlier times religion played a very prominent role in government, in society, and in the home. There was still a substantial amount of crime in medieval and early societies, even with all their religiosity. So, no I don't think it is.
A few years ago, it came out that many Catholic priests had been sexually molesting young boys in their parish. This case made me think of my mother's stories of surviving Catholic schools in her home country, England. For years, she and other girls were subjected to being hit with metal rulers. My mother still has the scars across her knuckles. The nuns and priests certainly had no problem using physical violence against children.
Things only got worse for children in the U.S. They were raped by religious leaders, people they were told to trust. If these officials who supposedly answer only to God will break such horrifying laws, it's clear that religion plays no factor.