DOJ Press Release letterhead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Sandra Gunn
Phone: (202) 307-0703
TTY: (202) 514-1888

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCES OVER $40 MILLION TO SUPPORT ANTI-CRIME COMMUNITY EFFORTS

National Conference Brings Residents and Law Enforcement Together to Help Communities

           DETROIT - The Department of Justice today announced more than $40 million in funding to fight crime and restore community infrastructure through the Office of Justice Programs' Community Capacity Development Office (CCDO) Weed and Seed strategy.

           "This funding helps rebuild and restructure communities that have suffered because of criminal activity and social decay," said Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Regina B. Schofield. "These strategies encourage residents to work with law enforcement agencies to deter crime, identify resources, and restore community cohesiveness."

           Today's announcement includes awards to 169 current Weed and Seed communities and 38 new communities. The plans and strategies for these communities include coordinating with federal, state, county and local prosecutors to reduce drug-related crimes, gang violence, and property crimes; fostering joint responsibility and action between police and community residents; and improving the network between city agencies and community groups.

           There are approximately 319 Weed and Seed communities across the country. CCDO supports these communities through its four-pronged Weed and Seed strategy, which includes: law enforcement; community policing; prevention, intervention and treatment for residents; and neighborhood restoration. The partnerships formed in Weed and Seed strategies include organizing and forming alliances with local business, faith based organizations and other state or local organizations to identify and resolve specific criminal activity and replace it with other activities that include restoring buildings, providing youth activities, and establishing new economic opportunities.

           The Weed and Seed Strategy is the central focus of CCDO's 2007 National Conference, "Promoting Unity in Each Community," occurring in Detroit today through Thursday. Hosted by the city of Detroit and the U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of Michigan, the conference brings together individuals working to improve communities through the Weed and Seed strategy, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and other initiatives. Participants will share best practices, learn new skills, and build new community partnerships that are vital to achieving further success.

           "It is wonderful for the local Weed and Seed initiative and all of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners involved in both Weed and Seed and Project Safe Neighborhoods that we are able to have this national conference in Detroit," said Stephen J. Murphy, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. "By hosting this conference in Detroit, we are enhancing the efforts put forth by our various stakeholders to help change Detroit's image from one of 'crime' to one of 'crime prevention, cooperation and expertise.'"

           The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: 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. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) Office. More information can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

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