Weed and Seed Program
The Weed and Seed program was established by the Federal government to strengthen local communities by “weeding” out criminal activity and “seeding” the community with crime-prevention and neighborhood-restoration actions.
The “weeding” component has two approaches:
(1) Law Enforcement – Weed & Seed law enforcement officers work to target, apprehend and incapacitate violent street criminals and reducing drug abuse and gang activity in the areas where a Weed & Seed program has been established; and
(2) Community Policing – Community residents are recruited to work with police officers assigned to the Weed & Seed program to develop solutions for crimes in their neighborhoods, including security watches and patrols by neighborhood residents, and encouraging residents to report suspicious activities to the police.
The “seeding” component has two target goals:
(1) Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment – Using the resources of local human services organizations, such as Aloha United Way and the YMCA of Honolulu, to create a positive community environment; and
(2) Neighborhood Restoration – helping to revitalize local communities by strengthening legitimate community businesses.
The Weed & Seed Resource Committee provides guidance to the neighborhoods that are involved in the program. The Committee is currently composed of representatives of Aloha United Way, the Hawaii State Attorney General, Bank of Hawaii, the Honolulu Department of Community Services, the Hawaii State Departments of Education and Human Services, the Governor, the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, the Honolulu Board of Realtors, the Honolulu Police Department, the Mayor of Honolulu, the Honolulu Prosecutor, the U.S. Attorney, the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the YMCA of Honolulu.
The Weed & Seed program has operated in three neighborhoods on Oahu – The first site is in the Kalihi-Palama-Chinatown area, where the program began in 1998. The program provided mentoring sessions, horseback riding, and fishing activities for teens, and created the Kalihi-Palama Late Night Basketball League. It reduced drug trafficking, car break-ins, businesses conducting illegal activities, teen drinking, and truancy. The program also increased business participation in resident patrols and security watches and neighborhood restoration;
The program has expanded into Waipahu, where it helped wipe out two major drug-trafficking organizations, resulting in the seizure of 26 pounds of crystal meth, 43 firearms, $50,000 in cash, and 6 vehicles in 2001, plus a 40-year federal prison sentence for the leader, and $100,000 in cash, plus drugs, firearms, and 4 vehicles in a 2006 raid.
The program’s third area of operation is Ewa-Ewa Beach, where residents established “EWAlution,” a community partnership involving 54 public, private, and non-profit service providers, plus businesses and other organizations to plan regular community activities. So far, they have established a food distribution program, quarterly movies, and an ocean sports day every quarter for local youth. In addition, the program established a summer program in culinary arts for area teens. The Ewa-Ewa Beach program began in 2002.
The original concept for the Weed & Seed program came from the Federal government which, through the U.S. Department of Justice, provided training and technical assistance for persons who would lead the program in their local communities. Currently, OCS is administering Weed & Seed local programs in Waipahu and Ewa, through a contract with YMCA of Honolulu from July 2012 to June 2013.