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Program Profile: Weed and Seed (Miami, Fla.)

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 07, 2011

Program Summary

This is a community-based approach to reducing and preventing crime while revitalizing the community. The program is rated No Effect. There was no significant reduction in violent offenses in the Liberty City treatment area after the crackdown, but reductions were observed in the control and displacement catchment (buffer) areas.

Program Description

Program Goals
Weed and Seed is a community-based approach that targets reducing and preventing crime while revitalizing the community.

Program Components/Key Personnel
Weed and Seed aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent, drug, and gang activity in high-crime areas by having law enforcement and prosecutors work to “weed” out criminals. Community revitalization is addressed by “seeding” human services focused on prevention, intervention, and neighborhood development. Neighborhood revitalization efforts generally focus on economic development, employment opportunities for residents, and the physical environment of the neighborhood.

The multilevel approach encouraged by Weed and Seed includes the participation of law enforcement, the use of community policing, and the introduction of prevention and treatment interventions, as well as neighborhood revitalization efforts. A key role is played by the local U.S. Attorney’s Office to provide leadership in guiding multiagency efforts and mobilizing key stakeholders. Many sites develop joint task forces that help coordinate law enforcement agencies from all levels of government. Community policing efforts focus on engaging the community and using a problem-solving approach to tackling identified problems. Every site is required to have a Safe Haven, which is a multiservice center that delivers both youth- and adult-oriented services. These are often housed in a school or a community center.

Weed and Seed in Miami, Fla.
There are more than 250 Weed and Seed sites across the country, which can vary dramatically in size (they can cover populations ranging from 3,000 to 50,000). Weed and Seed in the Southern District of Florida was first funded beginning in 1997. It started in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami, Fla., and began with a gang crackdown to shut down a violent narcotics distribution organization terrorizing that neighborhood. This crackdown resulted in the conviction of 38 gang members from two gangs. Many of early activities of the Weed and Seed initiative focused on hot spots found in the Scott/Carver housing development and the dividing line between the City and County jurisdictions.

The Miami/Miami–Dade Weed and Seed community-based organization also manages a local Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, which is a gun reduction partnership, and the program, Operation Save our Streets (or SOS), which focuses on crime prevention through social development. “Seeding” activities include job fairs, school-based drug use prevention programs, lead awareness campaigns, and neighborhood beautification projects. Since 1997, an additional 10 sites have been added in the Southern District.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1

Violent Crime

Roman and colleagues (2005) found no significant reduction in violent offenses in the Liberty City treatment area of Miami, Fla., after the crackdown, but reductions were observed in the control and displacement catchment (buffer) areas.


Drug Offenses

The analysis revealed that a significant increase in drug offenses occurred after the crackdown in the treatment area, but not in the comparison or catchment areas. One might interpret this as a successful intermediate outcome if it is the case that the volume of drug-related crime reflects police prioritization of this type of offense. That is, the police may have been detecting more drug crime than before. It is difficult to interpret this finding with certainty.



No displacement was observed.

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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Roman and colleagues (2005) used an interrupted time series quasi-experimental design to assess the impact of the Weed and Seed crackdown program on levels of drug and violent crime. An important component of the evaluation was also to determine whether crime had been displaced from the treatment area in Miami, Fla., to other locations after the Weed and Seed crackdown and the closing of a public housing development in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. To assess displacement, the researchers used the Bowers and Johnson (2003) weighted displacement quotient (or WDQ), which was able to measure the relative size of diffusion of benefits or displacement (but not absolute size).

The evaluation included a total of 96 monthly counts of violent and drug crime (January 1995 through December 2002), half before and half after the Liberty City crackdown, for both the target and buffer areas. For the Scott/Carver housing development relocation, only crime rates were provided. The data was obtained from crime reports data from the Miami–Dade County Police Department in Florida (1995–2002) and from the City of Miami Police Department (July 1999 through December 2003). The analysis used two general categories of crimes: violent crimes (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and drug offenses.

Analyses were conducted for treatment, displacement catchment (or buffer), and control areas, although the analyses were conducted independently so (for example) the rate of crime in the comparison area was not used as a predictor in the analysis for the treatment area. The inclusion of an autoregressive term in the autoregressive integrative moving average (or ARIMA) model meant that any systematic but unmeasured (insofar as data was not collected for them) time-varying effects should be accounted for.

The descriptive statistics on the Scott/Carver relocation suggest a reduction in crime rates, but the estimates take no account of the change in the population at risk and so cannot be interpreted with confidence.
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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Other Information (Including Subgroup Findings)

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Dedicated federal funds for the Weed and Seed program was discontinued in fiscal year 2011 (FY11). Due to this funding situation, the Community Capacity Development Office (CCDO) closed at the end of FY11 and no new funding will be awarded. However, CCDO will provide programmatic management and oversight to existing grantees through the end of their grant awards.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Roman, Caterina Gouvis, Meagan Cahill, Mark Coggeshall, Erica Lagerson, and Shannon Courtney. 2005. The Weed and Seed Initiative and Crime Displacement in South Florida: An Examination of Spatial Displacement Associated with Crime Control Initiatives and the Redevelopment of Public Housing. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Justice Policy Center.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. N.d. “Weed and Seed.” Accessed May 12, 2011.

The United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida. N.d. “Community Based Initiatives: Weed and Seed Initiative.” Accessed May 12, 2011.
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Related Practices

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Following are practices that are related to this program:

Street-Level Drug Law Enforcement
This practice includes targeted-policing approaches for reducing drug and drug-related offenses. This practice is rated Promising in reducing reported, drug-related calls for services and offenses against persons. This practice is rated No Effects in reducing reported property offenses, public order calls for service, and total offenses.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Drug and alcohol offenses
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Violent offenses
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Property offenses
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Public order offenses
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
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Program Snapshot

Gender: Both

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): High Crime Neighborhoods/Hot Spots

Program Type: Community Awareness/Mobilization, Gang Prevention/Intervention, Vocational/Job Training, Weed and Seed Programs, Community Crime Prevention , Situational Crime Prevention, Violence Prevention

Targeted Population: Serious/Violent Offender, Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders, Gang Members

Current Program Status: Active

Caterina Roman
Assistant Professor
Department of Criminal Justice
1115 Polett Walk, 5th Floor, Gladfelter Hall
Philadelphia PA 19122
Phone: 215-204-1025