Meagan Cahill

Photo of Meagan Cahill
Senior Policy Researcher
Washington Office


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

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Meagan Cahill is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. For over a decade, she has been conducting research and evaluation in the areas of policing and improving police-community relations; at-risk and delinquent youth - with a special focus on youths’ social networks; gang violence; interpersonal violence, including sexual assault prosecutions and family violence reduction; crime and place; and community crime prevention. She is currently leading an effort to develop tools that communities can use to improve police-community relations. She is also leading an evaluation of family violence programs for Aboriginal populations in Australia, funded by the Australian government. She co-leads the National Institute of Justice-funded Justice Innovation Center, overseeing and conducting research with and for small, rural, and border criminal justice agencies, and is conducting an evaluation of OVW’s Sexual Assault Justice Initiative, which works to improve sexual assault prosecutions in seven sites. In early 2018, she began an assessment of the combined effects of anti-violence efforts in two cities, funded by NIJ. Prior to joining RAND, Cahill was a researcher at the Urban Institute for ten years, where she conducted multi-site evaluations of anti-gang programs, and studied youth gang networks and the gang desistance process.

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 in 2004 and received a National Institute of Justice Dissertation Fellowship in 2003-2004.

Recent Projects

  • Evaluation of OVW's Sexual Assault Justice Initiative
  • Designing and Conducting Impact Evaluations for Indigenous-Specific Initiatives Against Family Violence
  • Reducing Violence in Communities: An In-Depth Study of Efforts in Durham, NC and Minneapolis, MN
  • Gangs, Social Networks and Geography- Understanding the Factors of Gang Desistance
  • Understanding Online Hate Speech as a Motivator and Predictor of Crime.

Selected Publications

Jess Saunders, Meagan Cahill, Andrew Morral, et al. , The Justice Innovation Center: Identifying the Needs and Challenges of Criminal Justice Agencies in Small, Rural, Tribal, and Border Areas, RAND (RR-1479-NIJ ), 2016

Jillian Eidson, Caterina Roman, Meagan Cahill, "Successes and Challenges in Recruiting and Retaining Gang Members in Longitudinal Research: Lessons Learned From a Multisite Social Network Study," Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 15(4), 2016

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

Pam Lachman, Caterina Roman, Meagan Cahill, "Assessing Youth Motivations for Joining a Peer Group as Risk Factors for Delinquent and Gang Behavior," Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 11(3), 2013

Meagan Cahill, Rachel Franklin, "The Minority Homeownership Gap, Home Foreclosure, and Nativity: Evidence from Miami-Dade County.," Journal of Regional Science., 53(1), 2013

Meagan Cahill, "Using the Weighted Displacement Quotient To Explore Crime Displacement From Public Housing Redevelopment Sites," Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, 13(3), 2011

Meagan Cahill, David Hayeslip, Findings From OJJDP’s Gang Reduction Program. Bulletin published by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2010

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