The Weed and Seed Program has inspired other programs to attempt to make a change as well. Many projects and groups coincide with the Weed and Seed Program such as HUD renovation projects, D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Programs, Police Athletic Leagues by local Police Departments, VISTA volunteers, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and Job Training Partnership Act Positions (Weed and Seed Executive). These programs further the improvement of communities. Also these programs work together to obtain a common goal, which is to create community vibrancy.
Each city has the ability to pass any policies necessary for the improvement of the project as long as they are approved by the Executive office and manager. For example, in Woodburn, Oregon there is a policy which guides the committees to do their jobs properly. It is a well organized policy proposal which lays out the step by step requirements of each sub-committee for the Weed and Seed program in Woodburn. The “Seed” sub-committee is required to “develop and recommend strategies that bring positive influences to the target neighborhood” (Weed and Seed Steering). These strategies must include prevention, intervention and treatment, community policing and neighborhood restoration activities (Weed and Seed Steering). This simply lays out the jobs of each Weed and Seed committee and chairmen. In Delaware Every Weed and Seed site is required to establish a Safe Haven, a multi-service center often housed in a school or community center, where many youth- and adult-oriented services are delivered.
The funding of The Weed and Seed Program mainly came from grants whether entirely or partially. Some funds also came from State and Federal programs. On a local level many fundraisers were held to get the community involved and raise the necessary funds to complete a project. Most of the grants given by the federal government went to policing. Police services received grants for an average of $475,252. This money went towards police overtime, crime prevention programs and other necessities for policing. Also major grants went towards “weeding” programs which help prevent crime and making the community a safer place. Less money went towards “seeding” programs giving $237,177 to treatment services, revitalization programs, and other community activities (Travis).
The overall approval rating of the Weed and Seed program was high. Even when the citizens were not informed of the program they could comment on the decrease in crime and increase of community vibrancy. They could also note a decrease in unemployment and substance abuse. During a survey in the fiscal report of 2010 it showed, 79-90% of respondents gave an approval rating of either good or excellent (Travis). Furthermore, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania after the grants were removed for the weed and seed program they had to remove the program from the city. The public reaction to the removal of this program was quite devastated, Pete Kehler when asked about the removal of the Weed and Seed Program stated “It’s made a tremendous difference in the neighborhood” (Anti-Crime Program).
Although there was no set deadline for this project they attempted to make a difference within 18 months during a trial period and they saw incredible results. Rock Hill has been participating in the Weed and Seed program for about five years (Urban Rock Hill). The Weed and Seed Program has evolved greatly since it first began. In 2003 there were 145 violent crimes reported in the participating neighborhoods, in 2010 that number dropped to 62 making a 53% reduction (Travis). As the program evolves the committees learn what methods work and which do not.
One program in particular is located in Rock Hill, SC. Rock Hill is located in York County in northern South Carolina. The current Rock Hill Weed and Seed program focuses on five neighborhoods including Hagins-Fewell, Sunset Park, Crawford Road, Flint Hill, and South Central. The population of Rock Hill is 66,154 people and counting. Rock Hill has repeatedly struggled with excessive crime rates and poor neighborhood conditions. The Weed and Seed Program was formed in Rock Hill to provide the opportunity to improve the living conditions for the people and bring them together to improve their community vibrancy (Urban Rock Hill).
United States Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs that dedicates their time to community based projects. The Weed and Seed program was formed to “weed” out the crime in local neighborhoods and “seed” a more vibrant community. This program aims to weed out violent crime, gang activity, drug use, and drug trafficking in neighborhoods that desperately need it. They then attempt to restore those neighborhoods through community social and economic activities. Weed and Seed was created in 1991 to reduce the crime rates and improve community vibrancy (Travis). It began with a trial period including nineteen cities over eighteen months. These cities obtained grants for $1.1 million to prevent crime and create programs to get the community involved in restoring neighborhoods (Travis).
Gilmore, Ruth Wilson.1999. Globalisation and US prison growth: From military Keynesianism to post-Keynesian militarism. Race and Class 40: 171-188.
Harvey, David. 2005. A brief history of neoliberalism.Oxford:OxfordUniversity Press.
However, every Weed and Seed site has three core components: weeding, seeding, and community policing. The first element, weeding, aims to remove criminals from the neighborhood through targeted operations and elevated police presence. Commonly utilized tactics include identifying and securing locations of high-crime activity, aggressive use of search and arrest warrants, undercover “buy busts,” and extended police coverage with an emphasis on field interrogations (Miller 2001). The second component, seeding, uses new resources from the program to leverage pre-existing community resources and actors in the planning and implementation of self-selected initiatives. While seeding initiatives vary based on locally defined priorities, all sites are required to have a “safe haven,” a multi-service center or space that hosts a variety of different programs and activities. Popular seeding efforts include youth prevention and intervention programs, adult employment programs, family support services, community building and neighborhood beautification initiatives (Dunworth et. al. 1999). The third component is community policing, in which the police and community proactively collaborate to address and respond to pressing problems.
According to David Harvey (2005), such disarming impediments to free market growth is at the top of neo-liberal agenda. Harvey(2005, 19) argues that neo-liberalization of the state is a “political project to re-establish the conditions for capital accumulation and to restore the power of economic elites.” Harveyfurther outlines the dramatic increase in income inequality that followed drastic shifts in monetary policy of the 1970s to assert that political pursuit of a free-er market system produces hyper-concentrations of capital for a very small economic elite. This new model of governance, one that prioritizes corporate welfare over human welfare, was not strictly created by legislation. As an example, he cites theNew York City fiscal crisis of the 1970s is an example of the way that neo-liberal practices took hold of city government, and became a compelling model for social and economic policy during the Reagan era. The crisis came to a head in 1975 when a coalition ofNew York investment bankers refused to roll over the City’s debt, which pushed the city into virtual bankruptcy in the midst of a national recession. What followed,Harvey shows, was a series of concessions that required the city to render tax revenues to bondholders, and the large scale re-orientation of city government priorities from pubic employment and services to entrepreneurial development. New York’s fiscal recovery, engineered by the “cadre” of investment bankers, brought both new practices and justifying ideologies. City government resources were increasingly utilized to attract investment capital by building infrastructure and providing tax incentives and subsidies for new enterprise (Harvey 2005).
Dunworth, Terrance and Gregory Mills, Gary Cordner and Jack Greene. 1999. National evaluation of weed and seed: cross-site analysis. Washington,D.C.:U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.
Planting a Neo-liberal Agenda
Miller, Lisa. 2001. Looking for the postmodernism in all the wrong places; Implementing a new penology. The British Journal of Criminology 41: 168-184.