Several initiatives of the Office of Justice Programs are addressing crime and violence through comprehensive, community-based efforts. These programs share goals such as recognizing the importance of community involvement in grant development and implementation, and local coordination; and the need to combine crime abatement and crime prevention efforts. Another important aspect of these programs is the attempt to maximize the impact of existing resources through integrating national, state, and local resources of both the public and private sectors.
Weed and Seed
One of the longest-running community-based programs is Operation Weed and Seed. Initiated in 1991, Weed and Seed has received broad-based, bipartisan support since its inception.
The Weed and Seed strategy consists of four elements: 1) Coordinated Law Enforcement to "weed" crime, drug, and gang activity; 2) Community Oriented Policing to serve as a bridge between the "weeding" (law enforcement) and "seeding" efforts (crime prevention and neighborhood restoration); 3) Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment to increase the availability and coordination of human services -- such as drug and crime prevention programs, educational opportunities, drug treatment, family services, and recreational activities for youth; and 4) Neighborhood Restoration to revitalize distressed neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for Weed and Seed residents through economic development, job opportunities, improved housing conditions, and increased access to affordable housing.
As of April 1998, there were 147 officially recognized Weed and Seed sites. Awarding Official Recognition is a means by which the federal government can honor and assist communities implementing the strategy independent of Justice Department Weed and Seed funding. Several federal agencies have given preference in their discretionary grant programs to Officially Recognized Weed and Seed communities and are encouraging state block grant agencies to provide assistance to these sites as well. In addition, all Weed and Seed sites, funded and unfunded, are eligible for a wide range of training and technical assistance services. For further information, contact Steve Rickman, Director, Executive Office for Weed and Seed, at 202-616-1152.
Expanding upon the underlying strategy of Operation Weed and Seed is an intergovernmental initiative, Pulling America's Cities Together (PACT). The U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Justice, as well as the Office of National Drug Control Policy, initially launched this effort as a component of the Interdepartmental Task Force on Violence. Through PACT, collaborating federal government agencies foster and support the development of broad-based, fully coordinated local jurisdictions and statewide initiatives to secure community safety. OJP's Bureau of Justice Assistance has provided specific support to PACT-designated cities through its Comprehensive Communities Program. For further information about PACT, contact Mary Breen, Office of the Assistant Attorney General, OJP, at 202-616-0289.
Both Weed and Seed sites and PACT cities are eligible for priority consideration for additional discretionary grant federal funding under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's- administered Empowerment Zones (EZs) and Enterprise Communities (ECs). The planning process involved in EZs, similar in many ways to that of Weed and Seed and PACT, produces a coordinated strategy to use federal tax initiatives, deregulation, federal program waivers, and flexible federal program funding to encourage economic self-sufficiency in communities. ECs highlight tax incentives, flexible block grants, and waivers/flexibility with existing federal resources.
OJP's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention program, SafeFutures: Partnerships to Reduce Youth Violence and Delinquency, complements other OJP community-based initiatives in its focus on a strategy that is comprehensive and that draws upon multi-agency resources, federal, state, and local, public and private. The strategy includes the development of a continuum of care for all youth, with a particular emphasis on delinquent youth, through prevention and intervention activities, including a range of graduated sanctions and treatment services. Five sites (three urban, one rural, and one tribal government) are being funded. Two of the four urban/rural sites will be in jurisdictions designated as Empowerment Zones/Enterprise Communities. For further information, contact OJJDP's Special Emphasis Division at 202-307-5914.
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