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).
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs originally founded the Weed and Seed program in 1991. They believed high crime areas needed some sort of resolution. They formed the weed and seed program as a trial to see if it was possible to solve the high crime rates (National Weed and Seed). During this 18 month trial they saw tremendous results and a decrease in crime rates (Travis). The Weed and Seed program was a nationally funded program supported by many major political groups and departments. The U.S. Attorney’s Office helped tremendously with funding and employees. Also many police departments strongly supported this program. The Metropolitan Police Department assisted with funding until May of 2008 (Weed and Seed Executive). However, there was some opposition to the program at first. Seattle City Council member Margaret Pageler opposed the Weed and Seed Program because she believed it took away the peoples civil rights by creating laws and policies regarding public safety. For example, in 1992 some of the proposals of the Weed and Seed Program were leaked which stirred up a great deal of controversy amongst Seattle civilians including the proposal of street sweeps “Street sweeps, where everybody on public streets in an area designated as “high crime” would be taken into custody and forced to prove their innocence” (Patrick). Many people feared this proposal simply because they could be arrested for simply being on the street at the wrong time “Arresting everybody on a public street just because they happened to be out at the time of the sweep would completely ignore the long established tradition in our country of due process before the law. Who could say that many innocent young folks wouldn’t be caught up in these sweeps, possibly having their lives damaged by being marked as having been in jail?”(Patrick). This is a reasonable opposition of the Weed and Seed Program however, that was only proposed in Seattle, Washington and never went into effect. The fact that this proposal never went into effect did ease the opposition of the Weed and Seed Program however, these people still remain wary of the programs motives.
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).
The Weed and Seed Program improves community vibrancy by reducing crimes and creating programs to aid the people in their day to day lives. Charges made post Weed and Seed Program have significantly increased due to many of the individual projects put in place (Travis). The weed and seed program increases the police funding and attempts to get criminals off the streets and prevent crimes. The Weed and Seed Program has been awarded many grants by the United States Attorney’s Office and many supporting Police Departments (Celebrating Weed and Seeds). Also projects funded by the weed and seed program have greatly improved the neighborhoods, such as after-school programs, safe havens, teen centers, and job-training for teens and ex-convicts so they will be able to better the community. The Weed and Seed Program also has the support of the people in the communities. Most people who responded to a survey on the Weed and Seed Program noticed improvements of their neighborhood, in police responsiveness, and community involvement (Travis).
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).
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).
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.
“There has been some talk among city, county and federal officials about redefining that to enhance the seed (social-services) part,” said Mark Murray, the mayor’s press secretary.
“We really view this grant as an extension of our existing community police team efforts, providing more resources for the community and our police to utilize in their joint efforts to promote neighborhood safety,” said Rice.
Seattle is among the cities to win a federal law-enforcement grant for the inner city called the Weed and Seed program, Mayor Norm Rice’s office announced today.
Anticipating that Seattle would be one of the 10 or so cities chosen for the program, Rice last week began trying to patch relations with the Central Area groups.
In response to critics, Rice has said the program will be designed and run at the local level, with Seattle officials – not the U.S. Justice Department – in charge.
The $1.1 million program grant has been under attack for the past two weeks by numerous Central Area community groups, who fear the additional money would mean harassment of young African Americans.
A community advisory council of residents and business owners from the Central Area will “provide input and oversight for law enforcement and social-service initiatives under the grant,” he added.
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