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McCann's research focuses on criminal justice and national security policy, criminal law and procedure, and criminal courts. Specifically, McCann's research focuses on law and policy, terrorism and bias-motivated crimes (e.g. extremism), and immigration. Overarching themes in McCann's writings include the problem with defining and responding to 'terrorism', how our criminal justice and national security policy is often counter-productive to counter-terrorism efforts, how culture influences attitudes towards immigrants, and how the securitization of immigration and expansion of national security policy has come at enormous cost.
Examines the Global Terrorism Database and its ability to discriminate between terrorism and non-terrorism incidents. Argues that more quantitative and qualitative safeguards need to be implemented for scholars to accurately analyze open-source terrorism data.
Examines the historical evolution and convergence of the modern day immigration system with the criminal justice system and the influence foreign policy and counterterrorism plays in attenuating this relationship.
Examines terrorists pursuit of CBRN weapons using a novel dataset. Finds that, contrary to the literature, religious-motivated actors are more likely to pursue these types of weapons; especially biological weapons.
Examines Europeans perceptions of the relationship between immigration and crime. Reveals that a country’s level of economic development as measured by changes in gross domestic product (GDP) and education significantly influenced native-born citizens’ views about immigrants and the number of immigrants (per 1,000 residents) and crime rates determine whether native-born Europeans will view foreigners positively or negatively.
Examines the segmented assimilation theory of immigrant offending and finds that the theory does not have as much validity as previous scholars have contended in explaining generational pathways to offending.
Examines Americans perceptions of the relationship between immigration and increases in crime. FInds that traditional demographic variables do not explain the belief that immigrants increase crime, and it is instead more highly correlated to existing prejudices against immigrants in general.
Compares all hate crime and terrorism criminal statutes within the United States. Finds that these two crimes need to be further differentiated via legal alterations to criminal codes to make their prosecution more parsimonious.
Finds that immigrants are at an increased risk for being the victims of hate crime in the U.S.
Examines, qualitatively, state criminal law and federal organizational definitions of terrorism to discern what lexical elements are commonly seen across such definitions. Finds that organizational definitions are seemingly tied to institution mission or mandate, whereas state definitions vary significantly, lack consensus, and are evidently influenced by major events such as the September 11 attacks.