Friday, May 22, 2009

Northwest Park Oakview Weed and Seed Program

The Steering Committee of the Northwest Park Oakview Weed and Seed Program meets quarterly at Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring. The Steering Committee includes residents and representatives of public agencies and non-profit organizations.

At this meeting were representatives of the Hamptons Community Association, the Avery Park Community Association, the Oakview Civic Association, the Northwest Park Civic Association, Northwest Park Apartments Management Co., the Long Branch Neighborhood Initiative, the International Corridor C-Safe Program, the Broad Acres Elementary School Linkages to Learning Program, the Long Branch Library, the Park Police, U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, U.S Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, and the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board.

Weed and Seed, a community-based strategy sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), is an innovative, comprehensive multiagency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and community revitalization. CCDO oversees the Weed and Seed initiative.

Weed and Seed is foremost a strategy—rather than a grant program—that aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in designated high-crime neighborhoods across the country. The more than 250 Weed and Seed sites range in size from several neighborhood blocks to several square miles, with populations ranging from 3,000 to 50,000.

The strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in "weeding out" violent criminals and drug abusers and public agencies and community-based private organizations collaborate to "seed" much-needed human services, including prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood restoration programs. A community-oriented policing component bridges the weeding and seeding elements.

At each site, the relevant U.S. Attorney's Office plays a leadership role in organizing local officials, community representatives, and other key stakeholders to form a steering committee. The U.S. Attorney's Office also facilitates coordination of federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts so that sites effectively use federal law enforcement partners in weeding strategies. In some instances, the U.S. Attorney's Office helps sites mobilize resources from a variety of federal agencies for seeding programs.

The Weed and Seed strategy is a multilevel strategic plan that includes four basic components: law enforcement; community policing; prevention, intervention, and treatment; and neighborhood restoration. Four fundamental principles underlie the Weed and Seed strategy: collaboration, coordination, community participation, and leveraging of resources.

For more information, contact Victor B. Salazar, Site Coordinator, Northwest Park Oakview Weed & Seed, Silver Spring Regional Center at (301) 565-7300

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