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cities affected by weed and seed programs

The steps taken to implement a Weed and Seed strategy are to (1) organize a Steering Committee; (2) select a target neighborhood; (3) conduct a needs assessment; (4) mobilize resources; (5) identify goals and objectives; and (6) develop an implementation schedule.

The strategy involves a two-pronged approach. First, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in “weeding out” criminals who participate in violent crime and drug abuse, attempting to prevent their return to the targeted area as part of the program. Second, “seeding” brings a variety of human services to the area encompassing crime prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization. A community-oriented policing component bridges the weeding and seeding aspects of the program. Officers obtain helpful information from area residents for weeding efforts while they aid residents in obtaining information about community revitalization and seeding resources.

The Western District of Missouri has one officially recognized site in the Mid-City Neighborhood of St. Joseph, Mo. We also have two developing sites in the Blue Hills neighborhood of Kansas City and teh Englewood area of Independence.

Operation Weed and Seed is a multi-agency strategy that “weeds out” violent crime, gang activity, drug use, and drug trafficking in targeted high crime neighborhoods and “seeds” the target area by restoring these neighborhoods through social and economic revitalization. The Weed and Seed strategy recognizes the importance of linking and integrating Federal, State, and local law enforcement and criminal justice efforts with Federal, State, and local social services, the private sector and community efforts to maximize the impact of existing programs and resources. It also recognizes that community involvement is of paramount importance. Community residents must be empowered to assist in solving problems in their neighborhoods. In addition, the private sector is a pivotal partner in the Weed and Seed strategy.

Operation Weed and Seed is a U.S. Department of Justice initiative which began in 1991 when three pilot sites were selected to implement the strategy, including Kansas City as one of the original sites. Currently there are approximately 300 sites officially recognized.

Operation Weed and Seed is a program that aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods across the country. Weed and Seed sites range in size from several neighborhood blocks to 15 square miles.

At each site, the United States Attorney plays a central role in organizing the Steering Committee and bringing together the communities with the other Weed and Seed participants. The United States Attorney also facilitates coordination of federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts. Through cooperation, sites can effectively use federal law in weeding strategies and mobilize resources for seeding programs from a variety of federal agencies.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s (1999) work onUSprison growth further places this penology in a post-Keynesian state. As Gilmore frames it, the corporate tax-rebellion and social militancy of the 1960s left the state with fewer resources to spend on social programs, and a white electorate that was no longer in favor of funding the war on poverty. The accumulation ushered in by lower tax barriers and a growth in the popularity of finance capital created an environment in which pools of money were amassed with few outlets for investment. While suburban development channeled some land (and financial) surplus, capital had still withdrawn from rural areas as a result of agribusinesses forced out by debt (driven by international commodity markets and natural disasters). Such restructuring of agricultural and industrial markets also lead to a surplus in labor, land, and unemployment, and the restructuring of taxes meant that social programs would not be implemented to put labor surpluses back to work. Gilmore argues that prisons became the post-Keynesian state’s outlet for surpluses in capital, land, and labor.

Each Weed and Seed site has a designated a Grantee Organization, which is responsible for program coordination and implementation. Steering committees are charged with designing the program and, often chaired by officials such as an attorney general or mayor, consist of a mix of public sector representatives and community members (Dunworth et. al. 1999). For example, the Crawford-Roberts Weed and Seed site inPittsburghhad a task force that consisted of members from the local police department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) (Bynum et. al. 1999).

These attributes reflect the greater political economic climate of the 1990s. Starting in the 1970s the Keynesian model of economic governance, which proscribes the deployment of state controlled public money to mitigate free-market failures (e.g., unemployment and poverty), lost much of its popularity (Harvey 2005). TheUSfederal government had fewer resources (and less political incentive) to launch significant public assistance campaigns. In other words, the Weed and Seed focus on crime reduction and neighborhood development are hallmarks of a distinctly post-Keynesian response to poverty. Instead of treating poverty as a primary producer of criminal behavior, the logic of the Weed and Seed largely inverts this causal story by localizing criminality onto individuals.

Despite federal-level warnings about accelerated recidivism, and community mistrust of its aggressive law enforcement techniques, the Weed and Seed strategy was ratified by law and enacted in neighborhoods throughout the country. While some communities have implemented seeding programs for reentering prisoners (Solomon, Palmer, Atkinson, Davidson and Harvey 2006), such programs compete for a portion of limited seed funding that could otherwise be spent on a host of other prevention programming. Because rehabilitative services are not a fixed and securely funded part of the strategy, communities incur the cost of socio-economic losses accumulated during incarceration.

Post- Keynesian Penology