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National Evaluation of Weed and Seed: Manatee/Sarasota Case Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1999
69 pages
Publication Series

This case study documents the activities implemented under the Weed and Seed program in Manatee and Sarasota Counties in Florida, one of eight sites for the National Evaluation of Weed and Seed, and assesses the program's impact at this site.


Unveiled in 1991, Operation Weed and Seed is an attempt to improve the quality of life in America's cities. The ultimate goals of Weed and Seed are to control violent crime, drug trafficking, and drug-related crime in targeted high-crime neighborhoods and to provide a safe environment free of crime and drug use. The program is grounded in the philosophy that targeted areas can best be improved by a two-pronged strategy of "weeding" out violent offenders, drug traffickers, and other criminals by removing them from the targeted area and "seeding" the area with human services and neighborhood revitalization efforts. Community policing is intended to be the "bridge" between "weeding" and "seeding." The evaluation activities undertaken for this case study included onsite observation of program activities; in-person interviews with program staff, key law enforcement personnel, community leaders, service providers, and participants; review of program documents; a survey of target area residents; and analysis of computerized crime and arrest records provided by the local police department. The evaluation examined crime trends in only two of the six target areas (North and South Manatee County). Evaluation findings show that crime was already trending downward and had stabilized in both target areas prior to Weed and Seed, following an intensive police crackdown. Since the official implementation of Weed and Seed in October 1994, Part 1 crimes resumed a downward trend in North Manatee, declining an average of 10.6 percent in the first year and 8.2 percent in the second year. In the South Manatee target area, however, Part 1 crimes increased by an average of 6 percent in the first year and then declined 3.9 percent in the second year. Findings of the community survey focus on perceptions of the neighborhood, victimization, police response, community involvement, perceptions of social services and other programs, and perceptions of the Weed and Seed program. Future directions and degree of institutionalization are also discussed. 16 exhibits

Date Published: June 1, 1999