NATIONAL WEED AND SEED CONFERENCE HELPS
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Over 1500 representatives from local Weed and Seed neighborhoods across the nation are meeting this week at the Albuquerque Convention Center for the Fifth National Weed and Seed Conference. Working Together Works is sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Executive Office for Weed and Seed. Weed and Seed is a strategy developed at the local level that incorporates community-based initiatives involving law enforcement, crime prevention and community revitalization in targeted high-crime neighborhoods.
“Beginning with only three sites in 1991, the Weed and Seed program has now reached 315 communities throughout the country, where local residents are taking back crime-ridden neighborhoods and making them safe places where people of all ages can thrive,” said Deborah J. Daniels, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, who was also the first director of the Executive Office for Weed and Seed. “It’s the support and collaboration within individual communities that really make this program work.”
Speakers will include federal, state and local officials, including OJP’s Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Tracy A. Henke, who will also present Official Recognition certificates to three New Mexico sites.
“Because of the tremendous success of Weed and Seed in increasing public safety, we’re using the Weed and Seed principles to guide other major Administration initiatives, ” said Henke.
Henke will encourage conference participants to use these new tools – Project Safe Neighborhoods, Citizen Corps, Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative and faith-based resources – to complement their Weed and Seed strategies. Project Safe Neighborhoods is the Administration’s major initiative that targets gun violence.
At the conference, ten Weed and Seed sites will receive 2003 Coordination Honor Awards recognizing an organization’s or an individual’s exemplary efforts to advance law enforcement; community policing; crime prevention, intervention and treatment; and neighborhood revitalization within an Officially Recognized Weed and Seed site.
Weed and Seed strategies aim to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse and gang activity in high-crime neighborhoods. Under the leadership of United States’ Attorneys, the strategy brings together federal, state and local crime-fighting agencies, social service providers, representatives of public and private sectors, business owners and neighborhood residents in a coordinated effort to weed out violent crime and gang activity while sowing the seeds that will develop community services and economic revitalization.
In order to receive funds, a site must first become “Officially Recognized” by the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, a process demonstrating that a neighborhood has brought together all necessary elements and developed a strategy that is tailored to the individual community’s needs. Over $58 million is available to support Weed and Seed communities in Fiscal Year 2003.
This week’s conference will center around training opportunities for those implementing the Weed and Seed strategy in their own communities.Plenary sessions will focus on best practices, leveraging funding, homeland security, prisoner reentry and how to include faith-based resources in neighborhood activities.
For more information on Operation Weed and Seed or other OJP programs, please see OJP’s Web site. Media inquires should be directed to David Hess or Joan LaRocca in OJP’s Office of Communications at 202-307-0703.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises 5 component bureaus and 2 offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, and the Office of Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education. Information about OJP programs, publications and conferences is available on the OJP Website, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/.