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Weed and Seed Program of the U.S. Department of Justice

Presentation on theme: “Weed and Seed Program of the U.S. Department of Justice”— Presentation transcript:

1 Weed and Seed Program of the U.S. Department of Justice
I’m Sue Klein and my presentation is on the U. S. Department of Justice’s Weed and Seed Program. By Susan Klein

2 Weed and Seed Program 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 – basically, improve the quality of life in our cities.

3 Weed and Seed integrates law enforcement, community policing, prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood restoration efforts. Weed and Seed has three objectives: (1) develop a comprehensive, multi-agency 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 ……(read slide) The program elements — next slide

4 Weed and Seed Program Elements
— Law Enforcement — Community Policing — Prevention, intervention, and treatment — Neighborhood restoration involve specific strategies. The program components designed to achieve the three objectives fall into one of four Weed and Seed program elements: 1. Law enforcement. Weed and Seed’s law enforcement goals are the identification, arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration of narcotics traffickers and violent criminals operating in the target area. 2. Community policing. An objective of community policing is to establish mutual trust between law enforcement and the public. This is the bridge between weeding and seeding: law enforcement officials enlist the community to identify patterns of criminal activity and locate perpetrators; simultaneously, police help the community solve problems. 3. Prevention, intervention, and treatment. This element of the program is intended to reduce risk factors and to enhance protective factors associated with drug abuse, violence, and crime in the target area. Safe havens in the target areas typically coordinate the prevention, intervention, and treatment activities. 4. Neighborhood restoration. The goal of this element is to enable residents in the target area to improve their community morale, their neighborhood’s physical appearance (buildings, parks, streets, lighting, and so forth), and local economic and business conditions.

5 EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR WEED AND SEED (EOWS)
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

6 …cannot optimize its effectiveness without sound management practices.
EOWS In 1999, GAO made four recommendations to the Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS) to improve the program’s management, including (1) developing adequate internal controls to fully document decisions, (2) improving program monitoring, (3) developing criteria for determining when sites have become self-sustaining and when to reduce or withdraw program funding, and (4) developing additional performance measures. The Department of Justice agreed to strengthen controls on maintaining documentation and take further steps to define and apply criteria for self-sustainability. Developing outcome performance measures is important and EOWS has been working to develop measures that track progress toward program outcomes in the Weed and Seed Program.

7 Weed and Seed sites range in size from several neighborhood blocks to 15 square miles.
The three original sites for the Weed and Seed Program were Trenton, New Jersey, Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri. I have pulled some data to compare these sites, along with the Garfield and Sunnyslope districts in Phoenix. Here are some of the statistics from these areas. (handout)

8 Southeast District — NJ
Site Summary Geography: Area, sq. mi.0.57 Education: Adult population without a high school diploma 43.5% Race/Ethnicity: White 30.7% Black 47.0% Hispanic 36.4% Income/Housing: Per Capita Income $20,630 Median Household Income $37,253 Percent Renting 44.8% Percent Lived in Residence for Less than Five Years 53.2% Community Policing Characteristics: Foot Patrols, Substations, Crime Watch, Police Participation in Community Meetings Safe Haven Characteristics: Academic Tutoring, Anti-Drug Education, Anti-Gang Education/Training, Community Projects, Dispute Resolution and Training, Job Training/Mentoring, Performance/Applied Arts Program, Prevention Education, Recreation/Athletics, Scouting Programs, Summer Day Camp, Youth Leadership Training. The area in square miles ranges from .34 square miles in the Northwest District in New Jersey to 9.08 square miles in the Sunnyslope District in Arizona.

9 Northwest District — NJ
Site Summary Geography: Area, sq. mi.0.34 Education: Adult population without a high school diploma 40.4% Race/Ethnicity: White 5.6% Black 88.2% Hispanic 7.4% Income/Housing: Per Capita Income $13,980 Median Household Income$32,689 Percent Renting 42.4% Percent Lived in Residence for Less than Five Years 51.9% Community Policing Characteristics: Foot Patrols, Crime Watch, Police Participation in Community Meetings Safe Haven Characteristics: Academic Tutoring, Anti-Drug Education, Anti-Gang Education/Training, Community Projects, Dispute Resolution and Training, Job Training/Mentoring, Performance/Applied Arts Program, Prevention Education, Recreation/Athletics, Scouting Programs, Summer Day Camp, and Youth Leadership Training. The adult population without a high school diploma ranges from 20.2 percent in the Northside District in NE to 68.4 percent in the Garfield District in Arizona.

10 South Side District — NE
Site Summary Geography: Area, sq. mi.1.75 Education: Adult population without a high school diploma 38.7% Race/Ethnicity: White 53.4% Black 18.4% Hispanic 43.5% Income/Housing: Per Capita Income $11,521 Median Household Income $29,407 Percent Renting 37.4% Percent Lived in Residence for Less than Five Years43.9% Community Policing Characteristics: Foot Patrols, Bike Patrols, Crime Watch, Police Participation in Community Meetings Safe Haven Characteristics: Academic Tutoring, Anti-Drug Education, Boys and Girls Club Community Projects, Dispute Resolution and Training, Mentoring, Prevention Education, Recreation/Athletics, Safe Corridors, Scouting Programs, Summer Day Camp, Youth Leadership Training As you can see in the handout, no matter what the size of the district… next slide.

11 North Side District — NE
Site Summary Geography: Area, sq. mi Education: Adult population without a high school diploma 20.2% Race/Ethnicity: White 41.9% Black 52.0% Hispanic 4.0% Income/Housing: Per Capita Income $12,976 Median Household Income $33,769 Percent Renting 34.9% Percent Lived in Residence for Less than Five Years 43.6% Community Policing Characteristics: Foot Patrols, Bike Patrols, Crime Watch, Police Participation in Community Meetings Safe Haven Characteristics: Academic Tutoring, Anti-Drug Education, Anti-Gang Education/Training, Boys and Girls Club Community Police Co-Located, Dispute Resolution and Training, Mentoring, Performance/Applied Arts Program, Prevention Education, Recreation/Athletics Safe Corridors, Scouting Programs, Summer Day Camp, Youth Leadership Training Or the percentage of adult population without a high school diploma… next slide.

12 Sunnyslope District — AZ
Site Summary Geography: Area, sq. mi Education: Adult population without a high school diploma 27.3% Race/Ethnicity: White 74.3% Black 2.9% Hispanic 39.3% Income/Housing: Per Capita Income $22,919 Median Household Income $39,663 Percent Renting 44.8% Percent Lived in Residence for Less than Five Years 50.5% Community Policing Characteristics: Bike Patrols, Substations, Crime Watch, Police Participation in Community Meetings Safe Haven Characteristics: Academic Tutoring, Anti-Drug Education, Anti-Gang Education/Training, Communities In Schools, Community Projects, Dispute Resolution and Training, General Health Screening, Job Placement, Job Training/Mentoring, Military Cadet Training, Performance/Applied Arts Program, Prevention Education, Recreation/Athletics, Scouting Programs, Summer Day Camp, Youth Leadership Training. The Community Policing Characteristics are basically the same for all sites, typically including bike and/or foot patrols, crime watch and a standout in all sites the police participation in community meetings… next slide.

13 Garfield District — AZ
Site Summary Geography: Area, sq. mi.0.69 Education: Adult population without a high school diploma 68.4% Race/Ethnicity: White 59.5% Black 2.3% Hispanic 90.6% Income/Housing: Per Capita Income $8,201 Median Household Income $23,454 Percent Renting 61.0% Percent Lived in Residence for Less than Five Years 58.1% Community Policing Characteristics: Foot Patrols, Bike Patrols, Crime Watch, Police Participation in Community Meetings Safe Haven Characteristics: Academic Tutoring, Anti-Drug Education, Anti-Gang Education/Training, Community Projects, Dispute Resolution and Training, General Health Screening, Mentoring, Prevention Education, Recreation/Athletics, Scouting Programs, Summer Day Camp, Victim Assistance Programs, Youth Leadership Training The Safe Haven Characteristics for all sites typically include anti-drug and anti-gang education/training, community projects, recreation/athletic programs, and youth leadership training.

Crime in Chinatown: Will 'Weed and Seed' Get to the Root?

Honolulu government leaders are trying a new application of an old program to improve life in Chinatown. It’s called “Weed and Seed” — and city officials say that 20 years ago it cut some crimes in the area by 75%. Temporarily. Cultural or historical factors may contribute to illegal activities that persist in Chinatown.

“We had tremendous success when we did this the last time when I was U.S. Attorney. Now we’re in the process of doing it again.”

Beginning in 1997, City Prosecutor Steven Alm helped steer a process that weeded out criminal elements and seeded in community building activities. That effort predated Chinatown’s last flowering in the 2000s.

“We’ve been going for about a month. I think it’s already had a noticeable effect on Chinatown. It’s safer, it’s cleaner, I think the merchants just want to be left alone to sell their products,” Alm said.

Listen to Alm’s longer interview with HPR’s Noe Tanigawa from The Aloha Friday Conversation on Aug. 27, 2021.

The usual 10 to 15 people camping on the stone wall above Nuʻuanu Stream are gone. It’s been about three weeks now, to the relief of businesses across the street. Some of those homeless are currently in Aʻala Park or elsewhere in Chinatown. Free meals continue at River of Life Mission.

“A couple of dozen homeless guys with drug problems and mental health problems have been arrested. We’re working with the Department of Health to get them assessed, then into one of our good drug treatment and mental health treatment programs,” he said.

Still, after a community-wide cleanup by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Art Center, and others, graffiti, public defecation, and more were back the next day.

“There are certain crimes that we’re convinced take place in Chinatown just because of the milieu, because of the bars, the restaurants, the alleys and stuff,” Alm told Hawaiʻi Public Radio.

“Like prostitution, it’s not going to take place on King Street five blocks toward Koko Head. It’s going to take place in Chinatown. Same with the shoplifting in some of the stores, disorderly conduct, fights, selling weed, that kind of stuff. It’s something about an urban core like that that makes that easier to happen.”

“You cross right into another world, and that’s where those enterprises thrive. Because nobody wants them to thrive three blocks Diamond Head of that. You know? That’s why they take root there,” said Scott Kikkawa, a writer and federal law enforcement officer for Homeland Security.

Kikkawa has covered Hawaiʻi’s ongoing ice epidemic for The Hawai’i Review of Books, and is researching Hawaiʻi’s social and criminal history for a series of crime novels.

“There’s also a cultural aspect to it. In many Asian cultures, gambling is not considered to be immoral. Although it is illegal in many places, it is not considered to be immoral,” Kikkawa said. “Prostitution, the sex trade, the line blurs. A lot of it is not what we call a quid pro quo/sex for money exchange which is how prostitution statutes are written.”

Kikkawa points out that prostitution, rampant before the first Weed and Seed, was allowed in Chinatown during World War II and prior when Hawaiʻi was a Kingdom and Territory.

“It went from being an almost ethnically white phenomenon during the war (WWII), to being an ethnically Asian one after the war, after 1952. Prostitution really went hand in hand with the other two rackets, with gambling, and with narcotics.”

As far as drugs, opium was big in Honolulu’s Chinatown until supplies dried up in WWII. Heroin became more common, cocaine hit in the ’60s and ’70s, then ice.

“Gambling remained one of the constants. A lot of it remains in Chinatown today, and other places, which are the new Chinatown.”

Kikkawa cites the Keʻeaumoku and Kapiʻolani areas.

“And that’s one of the big issues that city council members get repeatedly from residents wherever they are on the island: game rooms and drugs,” Kikkawa said.