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Operation Weed and Seed

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Operation Weed and Seed is a program that 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.

Operation Weed and Seed is a U.S. Department of Justice initiative which began in 1991 when three pilot sites were selected to implement the strategy, including Kansas City as one of the original sites. Currently there are approximately 300 sites officially recognized.

Operation Weed and Seed is a multi-agency strategy that "weeds out" violent crime, gang activity, drug use, and drug trafficking in targeted high crime neighborhoods and "seeds" the target area by restoring these neighborhoods through social and economic revitalization. The Weed and Seed strategy recognizes the importance of linking and integrating Federal, State, and local law enforcement and criminal justice efforts with Federal, State, and local social services, the private sector and community efforts to maximize the impact of existing programs and resources. It also recognizes that community involvement is of paramount importance. Community residents must be empowered to assist in solving problems in their neighborhoods. In addition, the private sector is a pivotal partner in the Weed and Seed strategy.

The steps taken to implement a Weed and Seed strategy are to (1) organize a Steering Committee; (2) select a target neighborhood; (3) conduct a needs assessment; (4) mobilize resources; (5) identify goals and objectives; and (6) develop an implementation schedule.

The strategy involves a two-pronged approach. First, 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 as part of the program. Second, "seeding" brings a variety of human services to the area encompassing crime prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization. A community-oriented policing component bridges the weeding and seeding aspects of the program. Officers obtain helpful information from area residents for weeding efforts while they aid residents in obtaining information about community revitalization and seeding resources.

The Western District of Missouri has one officially recognized site in the Mid-City Neighborhood of St. Joseph, Mo. We also have two developing sites in the Blue Hills neighborhood of Kansas City and teh Englewood area of Independence.

At each site, the United States Attorney plays a central role in organizing the Steering Committee and bringing together the communities with the other Weed and Seed participants. The United States Attorney 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.