After writing the proposal for the city, Miller, a sociology professor and center faculty partner, is responsible for analyzing project successes and setbacks over the next five years.
JoAnn Miller, the academic partner for the Downtown Lafayette Weed and Seed community initiative, highlighted positive developments, including a 22 percent increase in drug-dealing arrests from 2006 to 2007, in the first progress report submitted to the Department of Justice.
Neighborhoods also have started crime watch programs and have taken an active interest in the success of all Weed and Seed projects. Inviting after-school programs for elementary and middle school children are being planned at the Hanna Community Center, Trinity United Methodist Church, and YWCA, according to Miller.
“The greater Lafayette community, including Purdue University, benefits from the Weed and Seed program,” Miller says. “It makes downtown Lafayette a more inviting place for residents and visitors alike.”
Weed and Seed is a community-based approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and community revitalization that creates an environment for agencies to work together weeding out local crime and planting seeds for crime prevention and neighborhood restoration. Lafayette received a five-year, $1 million grant from the Community Capacity Development Office at the U.S. Department of Justice to fund the Weed and Seed program in August 2007.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Justice’s Operation Weed and Seed Program, intended to help communities weed out crime and seed sites with crime prevention programs, focusing on: (1) program effectiveness; (2) communities’ satisfaction with the program; (3) activity funding; and (4) the program’s federal and local management structure. GAO noted that: (1) community involvement is important to the program’s effectiveness and long-term success; (2) community residents at local sites control steering committees and help design and implement activities; (3) the emphasis on activities varies at local levels and community policing is a strong component of many programs; (4) weeding efforts have removed criminals from communities and increased interagency cooperation; (5) program officials believe that Justice should increase its funding for seeding activities so that seeding and weeding activities have equal funding; (6) Justice has established guidelines to monitor program funds and compliance with its policies and also an interagency work group to coordinate social services agencies’ recommendations on seeding programs and exchange information; and (7) the program’s management structure provides for federal, state, local, private agency, and citizen participation.