Weed and Seed is a community-based strategy that aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods across the country. The goal of the strategy is to “weed out” violent crime, drug use, and gang activity from selected neighborhoods and then to help prevent crime from reoccurring by “seeding” those sites with a wide range of public and private efforts to empower and develop them.
The success of the strategy depends on the coordination by law enforcement, community groups, and social service agencies to work together to revitalize a distressed neighborhood. There are more than 250 Weed and Seed sites throughout the country that range in size from several neighborhood blocks to 15 square miles, with populations ranging from 3,000 to 50,000 people.
Is there funding available for Weed & Seed?
There is grant money available, but this funding is not indefinite and it is a modest amount. The grant money is not designed to replace funding but rather to help promote the long-term health and resilience of the community. Under the present guidelines a minimum of fifty percent of funding must be allocated to local law enforcement efforts.
What is the role of the United States Attorney?
At each site, the United States Attorney’s office plays a central role in organizing a steering committee and bringing together the communities with the other Weed and Seed participants. The office also facilitates coordination of federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts. Through cooperation, sites can effectively use federal law in weeding strategies and mobilize resources for seeding programs from a variety of federal agencies.
How many Weed and Seed sites are there in the Eastern District of New York?
Since 1993 there have been eleven Weed and Seed sites in our district. We currently have three funded and eight formerly funded Weed and Seed sites. Cypress Hills (Brooklyn), Uniondale/Roosevelt (Nassau County), and Wyandanch (Suffolk County) are all currently funded sites. Former sites include Hempstead, New Cassel, and Roosevelt in Nassau County; North Amityville, Huntington Station, and North Bellport in Suffolk County; East New York in Brooklyn, and Far Rockaway, Queens.
What are some of the successes of the Weed and Seed strategy in the Eastern District of New York?
Federal agencies and local law enforcement partners have succeeded in dismantling several violent drug gangs that operated in the Weed and Seed sites in our district. Numerous gang members and others who were responsible for drug trafficking, homicides and shootings have been arrested and prosecuted, thus liberating communities to use their housing developments and streets without fear of crime or violence. Our Weed and Seed sites have experienced significant reductions in crime as a result of strategic law enforcement initiatives and partnerships. In addition, local law enforcement officials also have established and operated Neighborhood Watch, and community organizations have developed job-placement programs for local residents in Weed and Seed communities.
Weed and Seed-funded programs in our district include after-school programs, computer centers, performing arts and sports programs, youth entrepreneurship, job training and placement programs designed to teach youths and ex-offenders the skills necessary to become productive members of our communities. In addition to these efforts, our Weed and Seed program has worked with local site steering committees to enable them to procure financial assistance from other government agencies and private foundations.
Re-entry of ex-offenders from incarceration back into the community is an important issue to many of our Weed and Seed sites and they are aggressively pursuing solutions. Through collaborative efforts with social service providers, law enforcement agencies, housing organizations, and other entities our Weed and Seed sites are developing successful and meaningful strategies to help these individuals get a second chance and become productive members of society.
The New York City-based Drug Education for Youth (DEFY) program concluded thirteen years of operation, serving at-risk youth from the NYC Weed and Seed sites, in partnership with the New York City Police Department and members of the United States Navy, United States Marines and New York National Guard. The program consists of a two-week summer camp geared toward anti-drug and anti-gang education, goal-setting and development of self-esteem, as well as a year-round mentoring program for children while they are at home and attending school. Over 1000 children from Brooklyn and Queens have graduated from the New York City DEFY program. For more information about DEFY, please read the department’s Defy Fact Sheet.
If you are interested in obtaining more information about our office's Weed and Seed strategy, please contact Richard Capobianco, LECC or Suzanne Telan, Community Resource Specialist at 718-254-7000.
Community Capacity Development Office
The Weed and Seed strategy is administered by the Community Capacity Development Office (CCDO) Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. The CCDO Director, Dennis E. Greenhouse, and his staff oversee more than 250 Weed and Seed sites throughout the United States. CCDO can be contacted at (202) 616-1152 or for more information visit the website at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ccdo/.