ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI RECEIVES COORDINATION HONOR AWARD
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the St. Louis Weed and Seed site received a Coordination Honor Award from the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS). It is one of ten sites to receive the award, which was announced during the Fifth Annual National Weed and Seed Conference, Working Together Works, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The awards recognize an exemplary coordination effort where Weed and Seed residents and organizations are working together effectively to implement the site’s Weed and Seed strategy. 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.
The Weed and Seed site was honored for its Coordinated Law Enforcement Team, made up of members from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office, the St. Louis City Counselor’s Office, the St. Louis City Neighborhood Stabilization Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The team has developed a coordinated law enforcement response that effectively prosecutes criminals in their target neighborhood. To further the team’s goals, the St. Louis Police Department designated 13 officers as “Weed and Seed Police Officers,” who meet with area residents during monthly Weed and Seed Advisory Committee meetings. Additionally, the team has initiated a “Community Education Program” to increase citizens’ understanding of the criminal justice system and increase communications among law enforcement, the prosecutors’ offices, and community residents. Since the team began operations, there has been a 13 percent decrease in overall crime in the neighborhood.
Final award decisions were based on several factors, including: quality of the nomination application submitted; nature and purpose of the coordination; level of coordination effort and outcome; inclusion of partner from cross-disciplines; and the impact on the local community.
Five of the awards represent the “weeding” component, while the other five represent efforts in the “seeding” component of the overall Weed and Seed strategy.
Operation Weed and Seed is foremost a strategy that aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods across the country. Under the leadership of U.S. 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 and links them in a shared goal of weeding out violent crime and gang activity while seeding the community with social 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 individual community’s needs. The Weed and Seed approach emphasizes four principles: aggressive law enforcement strategies, community policing, the provision of crime prevention, intervention, and treatment services, and neighborhood restoration and revitalization activities. The program began in 1991 in three pilot locations. Today, there are more than 300 Weed and Seed sites across the nation. Overall, since 1991, EOWS has provided nearly $340 million to 315 communities to further the community crime prevention and community revitalization goals of Operation Weed and Seed.
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 the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education. Information about OJP programs, publications, and conferences is available on the OJP Web site, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/.