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Operation Weed and Seed : Strategy

Operation Weed and Seed is foremost a strategy--rather than a grant program-- which aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods across the country. Weed and Seed sites range in size from several neighborhood blocks to 15 square miles.

The strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in "weeding out" criminals who participate in violent crime and drug abuse, attempting to prevent their return to the targeted area; and "seeding" brings human services to the area, encompassing prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization.

A community-orientated policing component bridges weeding and seeding strategies. Officers obtain helpful information from area residents for weeding efforts while they aid residents in obtaining information about community revitalization and seeding resources.

Weed : Law Enforcement

The law enforcement element consists primarily of suppression activities. These activities include enforcement, adjudication, prosecution, and supervision efforts designed to target, apprehend, and incapacitate violent street criminals who terrorize neighborhoods and account for a disproportionate percentage of criminal activity. One example of an effective law enforcement strategy is Operation Triggerlock, a Department of Justice initiative that targets violent offenders for prosecution in Federal court to take advantage of tough Federal firearms laws.

Some of the suppression activities will focus on special enforcement operations such as repeat or violent offender removal programs, intensified narcotics investigations, targeted prosecutions, victim-witness protection, and elimination of narcotics trafficking organizations operating in these areas.

Community Policing

Community Policing serves as the bridge between the “weeding" (law enforcement) and "seeding" (neighborhood restoration) components. The community policing element operates in support of intensive law enforcement suppression and containment activities and provides a bridge to the prevention, intervention, and treatment component as well as the neighborhood reclamation and restoration components. Local police departments should implement community policing strategies in each of the targeted sites. Under community policing, law enforcement works closely with community residents to develop solutions to violent and drug-related crime. In addition, community policing should help foster a sense of responsibility within the community and serve as a stimulus for community mobilization.

Community Policing activities will focus on increasing police visibility and developing cooperative relationships between the police and citizenry in the target areas. Techniques such as foot patrols, problem solving, victim referrals to support services, and community relations activities will increase positive interaction between the police and the community. Special emphasis should be placed on addressing the needs of crime victims and minority communities that are disproportionately victimized by crime.

The objective is to raise the level of citizen and community involvement in crime prevention and intervention activities to solve drug-related problems in neighborhoods to enhance the level of community security. Community policing might include police mini stations, foot patrols, and nuisance abatement.

Community mobilization is also important to community policing in crime prevention. Programs that encourage community participation and help prevent crime include neighborhood watches, citizen marches and rallies, prayer services, drug-free zones, and graffiti removal

Seed : Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment

The prevention, intervention, and treatment element could begin with the near completion of the intensive "Weed" activities. However, depending on the needs, interests, and most importantly, the safety of the targeted neighborhood, this aspect of the strategy could be initiated concurrently with the weeding effort. This element should help prevent crime and violence from recurring in target neighborhoods. The coordinated efforts of law enforcement and social service agencies, the private sector, and the community will help prevent crime from recurring. This can be accomplished by concentrating a broad array of human services on the target areas to create an environment where crime cannot thrive.

Prevention, intervention, and treatment should include youth services, school programs, community and social programs, and support groups designed to develop positive community attitudes toward combating narcotics use and trafficking. The Safe Haven, for example, is a mechanism to organize and deliver an array of youth-and adult-oriented human services in a multiservice center setting such as a school.

Seed : Neighborhood Restoration

Neighborhood restoration can be achieved only through the coordinated use of Federal, State, local, and private sector resources. This element of the Weed and Seed program is designed to revitalize distressed neighborhoods and improve the quality of life in the target communities. The neighborhood restoration element will focus on economic development activities designed to strengthen legitimate community institutions. Resources should be dedicated to economic development activities designed to strengthen legitimate community institutions. Resources should be dedicated to economic development, provision of economic opportunities for residents, improved public services in the target areas.

Programs will be developed to improve living conditions; enhance home security; allow for low-cost physical improvements; develop long-term efforts to renovate and maintain housing; and to provide educational, economic, social, recreational, and other virtual opportunities. A key feature of this element will be the fostering of self-worth and individual responsibility among community members.

Additional Resources

  • Organization
  • DOJ Weed & Seed Site
  • Weed & Seed Data Center