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.
National Weed and Seed Program — U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Weed and Seed
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.
In addition, there are two graduate Weed & Seed sites that no longer receive grant funding buty have elected to continue implementation of the Weed & Seed strategy:
Central Long Beach Weed & Seed, Long Beach, California
North Pomona Weed & Seed, Pomona, California
Lancaster Paving the Way Weed & Seed, Lancaster, California
Here in the Central District of California, there are three active Weed & Seed sites that are currently receiving grant funding:
Weed and Seed, a community-based strategy sponsored by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and overseen by DOJ’s Community Capacity Development Office, is an innovative, comprehensive multiagency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and community revitalization.
Weed and Seed is foremost a strategy—rather than a grant program—that aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in designated high-crime neighborhoods across the country. The more than 250 Weed and Seed sites range in size from several neighborhood blocks to several square miles, with populations ranging from 3,000 to 50,000.
At each site, the relevant United States Attorney’s Office plays a leadership role in organizing local officials, community representatives, and other key stakeholders to form a steering committee. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also facilitates coordination of federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts so that sites effectively use federal law enforcement partners in weeding strategies. In some instances, the U.S. Attorney’s Office helps sites mobilize resources from a variety of federal agencies for seeding programs.
The strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in “weeding out” violent criminals and drug abusers and public agencies and community-based private organizations collaborate to “seed” much-needed human services, including prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood restoration programs. A community-oriented policing component bridges the weeding and seeding elements.