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National Evaluation of Weed and Seed, Research in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1999
12 pages
Publication Series
This paper presents findings from the National Evaluation of Operation Weed and Seed, a strategy to control violent crime, drug trafficking, and drug-related crime in targeted areas and to provide a safe environment for residents to live, work, and raise their families.
From the initial three grant sites in 1991, Weed and Seed has grown to include 200 sites nationwide. The Weed and Seed programs in eight sites were selected for the national evaluation of their implementation and measurable effects on crime and public safety. In each site, the evaluation focused on one or two Weed and Seed target areas. Although each site had its own distinctive crime problems, they all shared high rates of violent crime related to drug trafficking and drug use. Most sites had serious gang-related crime problems. The effectiveness of "weeding" and "seeding" activities varied across the eight sites. The evaluation found that pre-existing community features may make Weed and Seed easier or more difficult to operate effectively. Important factors included the strength of the social and institutional infrastructure (an established network of community-based organizations and community leaders), the severity of crime problems, geographical advantages favoring economic development, and transiency of the community population. The mix of "weeding" and "seeding" activities and the sequencing of these components apparently are important factors in gaining community support for the program. Further, sites appeared to have greater success if they concentrated their program resources on smaller population groups, especially if they could similarly channel other public funds and also leverage private funds. A less tangible ingredient that seemed to characterize the more successful programs was the active and constructive leadership of key individuals. The most effective implementation strategies were those that relied on bottom-up, participatory decision-making approaches, especially when combined with efforts to build capacity and partnership among local organizations. 3 exhibits and 1 note

Date Published: June 1, 1999