November 12, 2010

Study: National Weed and Seed Program Helping to Improve Neighborhoods

Media Contacts

Jim Trudeau
Jim Trudeau

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—The National Weed and Seed program has helped improve collaboration among law enforcement and other groups, increase resident involvement, and reduce violence, crime and other problems in participating neighborhoods, according to an evaluation conducted by researchers at RTI International.

"We concluded that the Weed and Seed program provides positive benefits and should be continued without major modifications," said Jim Trudeau, director of RTI's Crime, Violence, and Justice Research Program, and the project's principal investigator. "Emphasis on the four central components—law enforcement, community policing, prevention/intervention/ treatment and neighborhood revitalization—should be kept, with specific focus on community policing."

Launched more than 18 years ago by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Weed and Seed program aims to "weed out" violent crime, drug abuse and gang activity in designated high-crime areas, and "seed" human services that encompass prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization.

Through coordinated use of federal, state, local and private-sector resources, the Weed and Seed program enhances communities by focusing on crime prevention, economic development, and improvement to the neighborhood physical environment. Weed and Seed initiatives have been established in hundreds of neighborhoods, typically ranging in size from a few blocks to several square miles, with populations of 3,000 to 50,000.

RTI conducted an independent assessment under a cooperative agreement from the Justice Research and Statistics Association with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Capacity Development Office.

RTI researchers evaluated more than 200 Weed and Seed program sites using rigorous statistical analysis of crime data and data collected through a web-based survey of 1,353 stakeholders. A more in-depth analysis of 13 Weed and Seed sites and 13 comparison neighborhoods included a survey of 2,200 residents, site visits, and review of documents such as grant applications, strategic plans and progress reports.