|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||EOWS||MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1997||202/307-0703|
TWENTY-NINE NEW COMMUNITIES RECEIVE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT GRANTS
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- For the first time, 29 communities, including Baltimore, Houston, Minneapolis and St. Paul, are receiving funding to help "weed out" violent crime, gang activity, drug trafficking and drug use, and "seed in" neighborhood revitalization, the Justice Department announced today. Together with the 84 currently funded sites, there are now a total of 113 communities receiving a total of $26.2 million in funding under the Weed and Seed program. This is the largest number of funded sites in the program's six-year history.
"More and more communities are using the Weed and Seed strategy to bring community residents, businesses, schools, and law enforcement together to make their neighborhoods safer," said Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). "We have already seen dramatic results in Weed and Seed neighborhoods in Seattle, Hartford and Wilmington, and these new grants will help many more communities attack crime block-by-block to achieve long-term positive change."
Violent crime in the targeted Weed and Seed neighborhood dropped 48 percent from 1991 to 1996 in Seattle, Washington and 46 percent from 1994 to 1996 in Hartford, Connecticut. Seattle began receiving Weed and Seed funding in 1992 and Hartford in Fiscal Year 1994.
"Even though the Weed and Seed programs in Seattle and Hartford began in different years, both have shown encouraging reductions in violent crime," added Robinson. "But not all of the results can be measured by statistics."
Robinson cited Wilmington, Delaware's Weed and Seed program, which reports that since the program began in Fiscal Year 1992, the community has improved relations with police, become more organized and provided residents with services that did not exist before the program started.
"The Weed and Seed program has grown from the first three sites in 1991," said Stephen Rickman, Director of the Department's Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS), which administers the program. "This growth was possible only through the dedication of the communities themselves and the commitment of the participating U.S. Attorneys' offices."
Weed and Seed is a key component of the Justice Department's anti-violence program. Community policing and law enforcement are central to Weed and Seed, as are prevention, intervention and treatment. Neighborhood restoration is another element of the strategy. The Weed and Seed program links federal, state and local law enforcement and criminal justice efforts with social services, as well as with private and community efforts. All Weed and Seed sites must demonstrate their capacity to obtain resources from both the public and private sectors. The local U.S. Attorney plays a major role in coordinating the Weed and Seed program.
Before applying for federal funding, communities must have implemented the Weed and Seed strategy without Justice Department funding and have received or applied for Weed and Seed's Official Recognition status. Submission of the Official Recognition application makes sites eligible to compete for future Weed and Seed funds and gives them preference for selected federal discretionary resources and priority for federally sponsored training and technical assistance.
For Fiscal Year 1997, the Executive Office of Weed and Seed (EOWS) invited all 84 funded sites to apply for continuation funding and invited 29 sites that had either achieved Official Recognition status or applied for it by December 31, 1996 to apply for full funding. Two different sites in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Corpus Christi applied for funding.
In addition to direct funding from EOWS, part of the funding will come from the Justice Department's Asset Forfeiture Funds (AFF), derived from cash and assets under federal guidelines. AFF can be used to reimburse state and local law enforcement for certain expenses incurred in a joint law enforcement operation such as overtime salaries, travel, fuel, training and equipment. Selected sites will also receive funding through other Weed and Seed initiatives,- such as the Weed and Seed JustServe partnership with AmeriCorps.
A list of the funded Weed and Seed sites and their FY 1997 awards is attached. To learn more about the Weed and Seed program, visit the EOWS web site at http://usdoj.weedseed.org.
Information about other bureaus and program offices in the Office of Justice Programs is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov. Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.
After Hours Page: Adam Spector at 202/516-6843
WEED AND SEED
FY 1997 SITE AWARDS
Sites in boldface and italics indicates first-time funding
|DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA||Washington||$466,000|
|NW Riviera Beach||$90,000|
|West Palm Beach||$275,000|
|East St. Louis||$75,000|
|LOUISIANA||Shreveport||Did not apply***|
|St. Paul (Railroad Island)||$200,000|
|MONTANA||Northern Cheyenne||In Progress**|
Did not apply***
|NEW MEXICO||Laguna Pueblo||In Progress**|
|Pittsburgh (Second Site)||$200,000|
|Corpus Christi (Second Site)||$200,000|
|UTAH||Salt Lake City||$325,000|