An evaluation of the Weed and Seed program in Kansas City, Missouri, found that the program's success in getting more guns off the streets in a violent Kansas City neighborhood reduced gun crimes by almost 50 percent during a 6-month period.
Between July 1992 and January 1993, police patrols were increased in gun crime "hot spots" in the target area, an area with a homicide rate 20 times higher than the national average. The population in the target area was almost entirely nonwhite, with more than two-thirds of all residences being owner-occupied, single-family, detached homes. Police patrols focused exclusively on gun detection through proactive, directed patrols and were not required to answer service calls. During the program period, police officers working overtime on directed patrols reported spending 27 percent of their time actually patrolling the target area. Police officers thus spent about 70 percent of their time processing arrests and performing other patrol-related duties. Despite the limited amount of time police officers actually spent on patrols in the target area, the volume of activity was significant. Police officers on directed patrol issued 1,080 traffic citations and made 948 car checks, 532 pedestrian checks, 170 State and Federal arrests, and 46 city arrests. In the target area, 65 percent more guns were seized in the second half of 1992 than in the first half of the year; gun seizures increased from 46 in the first 6 months of 1992 to 76 in the last 6 months. Traffic stops were the most productive means of finding illegal guns. Gun crimes declined significantly in the target area with directed patrols. Specifically, drive-by shootings dropped from 7 to 1 during the 6-month period, while gun crimes doubled from 6 to 12 in the comparison area. Results demonstrate the effectiveness of police patrols that focus exclusively on gun detection and seizure.
Date Published: November 1, 1994