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fbi weed and seed

Prosecution efforts were weaker than police efforts in W&S because of various institutional, political, and judicial concerns. ”In general, district attorneys operate with limited resources and in politicized environments that act as barriers to the provision of the additional resources needed for local prosecution of W&S cases” (Dunworth and Mills 1999). Local police and prosecution operate through different political systems: Police departments are funded in a fairly well-defined process through cities, whereas prosecutors are funded through a competitive political process at the county level. In addition, police chiefs are usually appointed by mayors, whereas prosecutors are usually elected. Thus, though police were able to make concentrated arrests in the W&S areas, enhanced prosecution was often difficult to generate.

Weed and Seed (W&S) was started in 1991 within the Executive Office of the President (EOP) as a discretionary federal grant program that provided funds for crime control and community revitalization to particularly troubled neighborhoods. U.S. attorney’s offices (USAOs) were invited to partner with local agencies on funding requests. The USAO was given the responsibility of setting up a steering committee and formulating a local strategy. After federal review and approval, federal support flowed through the USAO to the local agencies and organizations that would implement the strategy.

The initial state of a site has many implications for the success of a W&S program. The important factors include community social service infrastructure, crime levels, economic factors, and the rate of residential turnover within the community. With rapid turnover, the long-term community involvement and support for the seeding efforts of W&S are difficult to achieve and sustain. Once W&S funding is implemented, “early seeding, sustained weeding, high-level task forces combined with community policing, and an active prose-cutorial role are critical elements of program design” (Dunworth and Mills 1999).

Weeding

Funds from CCDO depend on compliance with W&S Office of Justice Programs requirements. A site will only receive one award per fiscal year except when special emphasis funding is offered, usually on a competitive basis. Other outstanding OJP activities will be considered, as well as past awards and performance under them. Because federal W&S grants are not meant to completely fund all desired programs in a W&S site, the site will have to demonstrate the ability to obtain both financial and nonfinancial resources from other public and private sources. The site is expected to become self-sustaining during its W&S life, and a plan for accomplishing this goal must either be in the strategy or be developed shortly thereafter.

The national evaluation (Dunworth and Mills 1999) found that:

The most effective implementation strategies were those that relied on bottom-up, participatory decision-making approaches, especially when combined with efforts to build capacity and partnership among local organizations. This required a long-term perspective about the program and its potential to bring about community change. Such sites, including some that achieved substantial crime reductions within the time period analyzed, have established a stronger foundation and more sustainable basis for further community-targeted initiatives.

The future of Weed and Seed is uncertain. The program has low funding levels (around $60 million nationally per year), so it is not a very significant federal budget item. Therefore, it does not offer much savings potential during the annual appropriations process. However, for that very reason it would be a simple matter for it to be eliminated.

National Weed and Seed Program — U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Weed and Seed

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Weed and Seed program was developed to demonstrate an innovative and comprehensive approach to law enforcement and community revitalization, and to prevent and control violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in target areas. The program, initiated in 1991, attempts to weed out violent crime, gang activity, and drug use and trafficking in target areas, and then seed the target area by restoring the neighborhood through social and economic revitalization. Weed and Seed has three objectives: (1) develop a comprehensive, multiagency strategy to control and prevent violent crime, drug trafficking, and drug-related crime in target neighborhoods; (2) coordinate and integrate existing and new initiatives to concentrate resources and maximize their impact on reducing and preventing violent crime, drug trafficking, and gang activity; and (3) mobilize community residents in the target areas to assist law enforcement in identifying and removing violent offenders and drug traffickers from the community and to assist other human service agencies in identifying and responding to service needs of the target area. To achieve these goals, Weed and Seed integrates law enforcement, community policing, prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood restoration efforts. The Weed and Seed program is being implemented in more than 150 communities across the country.

The Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS) within the Office of Justice Programs is responsible for overall program policy, coordination, and development. EOWS also serves to enhance the law enforcement and prosecution coordination among Federal, State, and local agencies, and coordinates with other cooperating programs and agencies such as Ameri-Corps, Empowerment Zones/Enterprise Communities, and the Comprehensive Communities Program.