Meagan Cahill

Photo of Meagan Cahill
Senior Policy Researcher
Off Site Office


Ph.D. and M.A. in geography, The University of Arizona; BA in geography, Mary Washington College

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Meagan Cahill (she/her) is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. For nearly 20 years, she has been conducting research and evaluation in the areas of policing and improving police-community relations; crime, place, and community crime prevention; at-risk and delinquent youth—with a special focus on youths' social networks; and gang violence. She currently leads an impact and process evaluation of NYPD's Neighborhood Policing philosophy and an effort to develop tools that communities can use to improve police-community relations. She is also developing and implementing a tabletop exercise designed to help cities improve police-community relations, and developed a research agenda identifying priority research topics that may improve efforts to reduce officer-involved shootings. Cahill is also the research director for the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research, overseeing the solicitation process and grants management. In early 2018, she began an assessment of the combined effects of anti-violence efforts in two cities, Minneapolis and Durham (NC), funded by NIJ. Prior to joining RAND, Cahill spent over a decade conducting multi-site evaluations of anti-gang programs and studying youth gang networks and the gang desistance process at another research organization.

Cahill's work employs spatial analytic methodologies for crime analysis using geographic information systems (GIS), basic social network analysis, and quantitative and qualitative methodologies. She received her Ph.D. in geography from the University of Arizona, and received a National Institute of Justice Dissertation Fellowship in 2003–2004.

Previous Positions

Senior Research Associate, Urban Institute

Recent Projects

  • Evaluation of NYPD's Neighborhood Policing Philosophy
  • A Novel Approach to Improving Community-Police Relations: Creating Dialogue via a Tabletop Exercise
  • Reducing Violence in Communities: An In-Depth Study of Efforts in Durham, NC and Minneapolis, MN
  • National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research
  • Evaluation of the Weinberg Center for Elder Justice

Selected Publications

Meagan Cahill, Melissa Labriola, Jirka Taylor, Police Shootings: A Roadmap for Change, RAND (RR-A1525-1), 2022 (forthcoming)

Meagan Cahill, Melissa Diliberti, Community Gun Violence Prevention Programs, RAND (RR-A932), 2021 (forthcoming)

Caterina Roman, Meagan Cahill, Lauren Mayes, "Changes in Personal Social Networks across Individuals Leaving Their Street Gang: Just What Are Youth Leaving Behind?" Social Sciences, 10(39), 2021

Sierra Smucker, Esther Friedman, Meagan Cahill, Jirka Taylor, John Daly, Regina Shih, An Initial Evaluation of the Weinberg Center for Elder Justice’s Shelter Model for Elder Mistreatment, RAND (RR-A931-1), 2021

Meagan Cahill, Ryan Brown, Garrett Baker, Dionne Barnes-Proby, Hannah Sandrini, Australia's Third Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children, Priority Area 2: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women and Their Children — Final Report, RAND (RR-A389-1), 2021

Anita Chandra, Meagan Cahill, Doug Yeung, Rachel Ross, Toward an Initial Conceptual Framework to Asses Community Allostatic Load, RAND (RR-2559-RWJ), 2018

Caterina Roman, Meagan Cahill, Jillian Eidson "Street Gang Definitions across Two US Cities: Eurogang Criteria, Group Identity Characteristics, and Peer Group Involvement in Crime," in Cheryl Maxson, Finn-Aage Esbensen, Gang Transitions and Transformations in an International Context (Eurogang V), Springer, 2016

Meagan Cahill, Gordon Mulligan, "Using Geographically Weighted Regression to Explore Local Crime Patterns," Social Science Computing Review, 25(2), 2007

Honors & Awards

  • 2018 Silver Medal Award for Police Community Relations efforts, RAND
  • 2021 Spotlight Award for Mentorship, Behavioral and Policy Sciences, RAND


  • Demonstrators march during a protest against racial inequality in Brooklyn after the killing of George Floyd, June 16, 2020, photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    Protests and Police Reform: Q&A with RAND Experts

    After the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and subsequent nationwide protests, the United States is seeing urgent action to reform policing. Here are insights from four RAND researchers who work on policing and community safety issues.

    Jun 18, 2020