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 (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; 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 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 research director for the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research, overseeing the solicitation process and grants management, and 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, 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 in 2004 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
  • Creating a Tabletop Exercise for Police-Community Relations
  • 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

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

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

Honors & Awards

  • Silver Medal Award for Police Community Relations efforts, 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 The RAND Blog