Wesley S. McCann

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, George Mason University
Chapter Member: Virginia SSN
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About Wesley

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.


"The Siege: Religious-Inspired Actors and CBRN Weapons" Journal of Applied Security Research (2021).

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.

"Perceptions of Immigrants in Europe: A Multilevel Assessment of Macrolevel Conditions" (with Francis D. Boateng, Joselyne L. Chenane, and ). Social Science Quarterly (2020).

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.


"Immigrants, Crime, and the American Dream: Testing a Segmented Assimilation Theory of Crime" (with Francis D. Boateng and Saijun Zhang). National Center for Biotechnology Information (2021).

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.

"An Examination of American Perceptions of the Immigrant-Crime Relationship" (with Francis D. Boateng ). American Journal of Criminal Justice 45 (2020): 973–1002.

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.

"Eliminating Extremism: A Legal Analysis of Hate Crime and Terrorism Laws in the United States" (with Nicholas Pimley). Terrorism and Political Violence (2019).

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.


"An Analysis of Hate Crime Victimization Amongst Immigrants" (with Francis D. Boateng). American Journal of Criminal Justice (2021).

Finds that immigrants are at an increased risk for being the victims of hate crime in the U.S.

"Who Said We Were Terrorists? Issues with Terrorism Data and Inclusion Criteria" (2020).

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.

"National Security and Policy in America Immigrants, Crime, and the Securitization of the Border" (with Francis D. Boateng ) (Routledge, 2019).

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.

"Mixed Mandates: Issues Concerning Organizational and Statutory Definitions of Terrorism in the United States" (with Nicholas Pimley). Terrorism and Political Violence (2018).

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.