Weed & Seed In-Sites
Fall 2007
Produced by the Community Capacity Development Office

Welcome to the fall 2007 edition of In-Sites, where CCDO gives you quick access to important information from the field. This issue includes stories about the National Guard helping to make a difference in the lives of youth, reentry programs addressing the needs of local populations, community policing and urban renewal working together to revive a neighborhood, and more.

Check out the Grants Management System Online Training Tool at http://www.ojp.gov/whatsnew/gmsonline.htm.

Table of Contents

Letter From the Director
Letter From the U.S. Attorney
Law Enforcement

Minneapolis Neighborhood Sees Results With New Gunfire Detection System
Schenectady's Public Surveillance Camera Project

Community Policing
New Substation To Decrease Crime, Restore the Neighborhood
Crime Watch Toolkit Reaches Out to Spanish Speakers in Dallas
Fallen Officer Honored by Seattle Weed and Seed Site

Syracuse Youth Find Common Ground Through Skateboarding
DEFY Camp Success for New Weed and Seed Site

Neighborhood Restoration
Weed and Seed Partners Win National Awards
IDA Demonstration Project

Sunnyside Weed and Seed Cosponsors First Job Fair at County Jail
Addressing Prisoner Reentry

American Indian/Alaska Native
A Personal Success at Native American Treatment Camp
U.S. Department of Justice Responds to Tribal Needs

Letter From the Director

In August, I had the great pleasure and honor of participating in my first National Conference for CCDO. Over the past 15 months, I have visited many Weed and Seed sites and very much appreciate the outstanding work being done. However, the CCDO conference brought home to me the extent that the Weed and Seed strategy has been embraced nationally.

It was extremely gratifying to meet so many site coordinators together in one place and join in their enthusiasm to learn and network. Thanks to you, Weed and Seed is alive and well. I never cease to be impressed with the sophistication of law enforcement and community policing initiatives that target gangs, guns, and drugs, reclaiming the streets in Weed and Seed neighborhoods. I never grow tired of hearing stories of the many lives transformed as Safe Havens deliver services to young people and families struggling to survive.

Our staff put together a fantastic program this year with sessions that introduced the latest in technology for combating crime, comprehensive law enforcement strategies that are delivering results, opportunities for professional development and strengthening your Weed and Seed strategies, and asset development practices that will support your public safety efforts while helping to take families out of poverty.

For me a highlight of this conference was welcoming this year's new Weed and Seed sites. We currently have 281 sites and will soon have 319 as new grants are awarded. I would like to thank all of the new sites for applying and the CCDO staff, particularly the program managers, for their great work in handling their current load while reviewing more than 100 new applications and preparing for the conference. We look forward to working with each of these new Weed and Seed partners.

Partnerships have always been a key strategy for sustainability in Weed and Seed. Every CCDO partnership—whether it is with each local Weed and Seed site or with state or federal agencies—is built on one compelling common mission: to increase public safety and create safer, thriving communities. Through these partnerships, CCDO has increased its impact on our designated Weed and Seed neighborhoods by generating increased resources and technical assistance; innovation in systems design and service delivery; increased coordination of local, state, and federal stakeholders with more participation by tribal governments; improved multiagency collaboration; and better leveraging of existing resources.

Our state and federal partnerships are characterized by defined roles and responsibilities, concrete commitments from each partner, and clearly articulated performance measures or outcomes. Such partnerships give us our most successful programs, such as the Public Housing Safety Initiative, the Drug Education for Youth Program, the VISTA Reentry project, and our asset development partnerships.

Locally, we seek to encourage a wide range of participation and collaboration with each Weed and Seed strategy site. Steering Committees are especially fruitful in this regard because their members represent the range of stakeholders on both the weeding and seeding sides of the equation. They bring existing resources and capacity to sites to help them focus on the gaps in service and the unmet needs of their neighborhoods.

Another highlight of the conference was the announcement of this year's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) results. As predicted, it was the most successful year yet. This past tax season, the 102 Weed and Seed VITA sites completed 24,400 returns worth $28 million in tax refunds. Add to this an additional value of $7 million in savings in tax preparation fees, which our Weed and Seed residents would have paid out of their own pockets without the VITAs.

This year's National Conference was a great success, and I'm already looking forward to next year. But of course it would be nothing without you, our Weed and Seed partners. It is because of your efforts and diligence that we are here. CCDO functions to serve you, to build your capacity to tackle local challenges, and to promote the exciting innovations and effective models you are implementing and sustaining. I encourage you to continue your hard work reclaiming our nation's neighborhoods, and CCDO pledges to continue supporting you every step of the way.


Dennis E. Greenhouse
Community Capacity Development Office

Letter From the U.S. Attorney

As the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, I am constantly amazed at the commitment and dedication of our office personnel and of the other law enforcement professionals in our district to our common mission of service to the people who live, work, and play here in sunny Southern Florida. Let me share with you a small part of our story.

Our office sees more than its share of cases, spanning a vast universe of criminal activity in both variety and intensity. I have been privileged to have oversight over major investigations and prosecutions covering almost every major law enforcement program area within the jurisdiction of the federal government. During the past 2 1/2 years, our office has handled major cases in the areas of child exploitation, narcotics, gang and firearms violence, national security, immigration, public corruption, bank and consumer fraud, domestic and international asset forfeiture, and civil and criminal health care fraud.

For example, we recently concluded a 4-month trial in United States v. Jose Padilla et al., successfully convicting three would-be terrorists of conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim individuals in a foreign country; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; and providing material support to terrorists.

Last year, we concluded the 17-year string of investigations and trials that brought to a close the saga of the infamous Cali Cartel cocaine smuggling empire. We successfully extradited from Colombia, and prosecuted, the final leaders of the Cartel, the Rodriguez-Orejuela brothers, who entered guilty pleas to narcotics and money laundering charges. They were sentenced to serve 30 years each in prison. They were also ordered to forfeit more than $2 billion in assets, including more than $300 million in business interests in Colombia.

These prosecutions, and others like them, have presented significant law enforcement challenges. The dedication and commitment of the agents, the prosecutors, and the members of our staff assigned to work on these cases have enabled them to successfully meet those challenges and to obtain outstanding results for the people of our district and the nation.

But there are few, if any, law enforcement challenges that pose a more immediate threat to the physical security of the residents of our district than those involving narcotics trafficking, criminal gangs, and gun violence.

Just 1 week into the New Year, the Miami Herald ran an article making this point clear.

In all, more than 450 individuals were murdered in South Florida. That's more than one murder a day. More than half of these victims were young men, mostly minorities, killed with guns.

This last point is critical. Historically, about 65 percent of homicides in Miami were committed using guns. Last year, the figure jumped to 75 percent. Too many young men are dying in minor disputes turned deadly through the use of guns. Too many are killing each other in narcotics and turf warfare and, in the process, too many truly innocent residents are maimed or killed or living in fear, as they are too often caught in the crossfire between battling criminal gangs. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to meet this challenge and to helping the many law-abiding residents of these most vulnerable communities regain control of their neighborhoods.

As U.S. Attorney, I am committed to engaging all of our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners in the effort to rid our neighborhoods of narcotics trafficking, illegal gang activity, and firearms violence. Thus far, we have stepped up our law enforcement efforts:

We will also continue to pursue large-scale, long-term investigations of violent gangs and violent criminal confederations. Our recent Operation Lightning Bolt is an example. The operation initially focused on 10 suspected shooters and their associates who were connected with gang shootings in the Overtown and Liberty City sections of Miami. We pursued drug and gun charges against 92 defendants, 64 of whom were federally prosecuted. Sixty-two were convicted. Typical prison sentences ranged from 15 years to life.

Operation Lightning Bolt had a clear and visible effect on the Overtown community and is exemplary of one of the most effective law enforcement approaches we can take to rid specific neighborhoods of criminals who unrepentantly continue to diminish the quality of life for the residents of our most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Aggressive prosecution alone, however, is not enough. Law enforcement in our community recognizes the need to work with and empower residents to improve the quality of life opportunities offered to children and young adults in these vulnerable neighborhoods.

We do this primarily in conjunction with affected residents and our Weed and Seed and Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) law enforcement, local government, and nonprofit organization partners. In essence, as we remove the criminal elements from a community, we also seed the community with positive opportunities.

An example of this is a computer center that we recently funded at the Liberty Square housing complex under the Public Housing Safety Initiative (PHSI). The computer learning center is used by adults in the earlier part of the day and by children living in Liberty Square after school. Upwards of 40 children each day use the center and participate in tutoring, life skills training, and mentoring offered by the center staff. Our PHSI also funds a youth sports program that is tied to participation in academic performance monitoring, tutoring, training in conflict resolution, and similar leadership skills which will equip these young people to chart a course for a more productive future.

Significantly, PHSI activities have served as a catalyst for the neighbors, the residents of the development, and our Weed and Seed partners to initiate additional activities, including the following: a self-esteem mentoring program for young girls; a karate class, run by a Miami-Dade police commander, with upwards of 100 enrollees; a GED (General Educational Development) program for residents; and a program in cooperation with Miami Dade College that provides admissions and scholarship assistance, allowing residents to enroll in college courses.

Most significantly, the number of shootings on the premises of the development since we implemented PHSI has been reduced beyond our wildest expectations. Where residents once refused to cooperate with police, and saw them more often than not as a group to be avoided, there is now an avenue for useful dialog and cooperation. This improved relationship between residents and police, and PHSI-inspired law enforcement activity, has paid huge dividends. In the 34 months before PHSI-funded activities got underway, there were 15 homicides on the development property. In the 11 months that PHSI has been in operation, there have been none.

Throughout the Southern District, we have coupled similar resident empowerment efforts with our law enforcement activities. We have funded, through PSN and working with our Weed and Seed community partners—

An award-winning antigang sports and personal skills empowerment training program. All of these efforts have one common goal: to make and keep our neighborhoods safe and vibrant. We can achieve this goal. First, as a law enforcement community, we must cooperatively and aggressively prosecute those dangerous violent offenders whose criminal activity places at risk the lives of everyone around them. Second, we must also work with residents and our community-based partners to give residents the tools they need to make their neighborhoods, and all of the communities in our district, safer places for everyone.

R. Alexander Acosta
U.S. Attorney
Southern District of Florida

Law Enforcement

Minneapolis Neighborhood Sees Results With New Gunfire Detection System

In its first 6 months, the Minneapolis Police Department's new ShotSpotter gunfire detection system had a significant effect on the level of crime in Minneapolis' Central neighborhood Weed and Seed site. It triggered dispatches to 69 suspected gunshot locations, with most dispatches made less than 1 minute after the shot was detected. These alerts led to three felony arrests, three misdemeanor arrests, two recovered guns, and a recovered stolen car.

"It is working better than we expected," said Sheryl Kabat, Executive Director of the site. According to Kabat, the neighborhood has seen eight arrests since ShotSpotter went live in December and only two shooting incidents. This is welcome relief for a neighborhood whose residents have suffered a disproportionate number of gun crimes for too long. In recent years the city as a whole has experienced a doubling of "shots fired" calls equating to 10.6 acts per 1,000 residents, and while alarming, this ratio pales in comparison to that for Central, which has experienced 24.7 acts per 1,000 residents. In fact, "shots fired" calls in Central represented approximately 18 percent of all "shots fired" calls in the 3rd Precinct, though the Central neighborhood accounts for less than 10 percent of the precinct population.

For Minneapolis, ShotSpotter is the culmination of a "gun law special emphasis," launched by the Central site in 2005 as a result of community and police concerns about steep increases in gunfire and gun-related crimes. The startling increase in violent firearm crimes committed in the community was most disturbing, with homicides doubling from 2003 to 2004 and then again from 2004 to 2005.

About ShotSpotter

ShotSpotter is a gunfire location system that uses sound sensors located on existing telephone or utility poles to detect gunshots and identify their position within 40 feet. These sensors are so accurate they can tell the difference between a car backfiring, a firecracker, and a gunshot. The sensors send an immediate message to the call center, and police can be immediately dispatched to the correct location without a 911 phone call. According to the company, other police departments nationwide that have implemented ShotSpotter have indicated great success, with some saying gunfire incidents have dropped by as much as 90 percent since its implementation. States where ShotSpotter is being used include New York, Ohio, California, and North Carolina.

Faced with this increasing gun violence and with continued shortages of manpower and funds, in late 2005 Central Weed and Seed began to seek long-term, cost-effective methods for reducing gunfire crimes that would not depend solely on increased officer support. Creative thinking, coupled with substantial research, led to a 2006 request for funding to help the site install and operate ShotSpotter. The city of Minneapolis and the police department, with assistance from Weed and Seed funding awarded to both the Central and Phillips Weed and Seed sites, committed $350,000 to the system's installation and an additional $125,000 for the installation of interfacing surveillance cameras.

Increasing Deterrence, Boosting Morale
In addition to providing 911 dispatchers and police with better tools for responding to gunshots, the technology seems to be deterring would-be criminals from committing gun violence. "Police are responding so quickly to shots fired calls that I think criminals are getting a little spooked," said Kabat. In the first shooting incident after the system went live, the police were on the scene in 30 seconds—so rapidly, in fact, that officers were able to chase after the shooters' car as they sped away, making the first arrest just a few blocks away. Since then, word has spread fast that if you fire a gun in those neighborhoods, Minneapolis police just might be there before you can get away.

Kabat noted that ShotSpotter has also boosted the community's morale. She described a recent community meeting where she spoke about ShotSpotter. During her talk, she noticed that the community leaders were growing increasingly excited. When she finished, one of the leaders stood up and said, "I just realized that I haven't heard a gunshot all summer." During these meetings, Kabat is quick to tell community groups that ShotSpotter does not replace their diligence and that residents' calls to 911 provide important supporting information. "But they can feel safe knowing that they will not be marked as the 'snitch,'" she said.

"I don't know if we ever could have accomplished what we have accomplished without the Weed and Seed initiative," said Kabat. "Through Weed and Seed and the technology that the strategy has enabled, citizens are realizing that the streets belong to them, and are excited to work with all their partners and stakeholders to make sure the bad guys know it too."

For more information, contact:
Sheryl Kabat

Schenectady's Public Surveillance Camera Project
By Robert M. Carney, Schenectady County District Attorney

In the early hours of January 27, 2002, residents of the Hamilton Hill neighborhood in Schenectady, NY, were awakened by the sound of several gun shots. As they peeked through their windows on that cold night, they saw that 16-year-old Leonder Goodwin lay dying in his own blood, shot for resisting an attempted robbery.

As with many other northeastern industrial cities, Schenectady saw its fortunes decline by the 1980s because one major manufacturer—the American Locomotive Company—closed its operations and another—General Electric—downsized. These job losses, together with migration out to the suburbs, reduced the city's population from 100,000 in 1950 to fewer than 60,000 residents today. The city has surplus housing, much of which is deteriorating. When crack cocaine first arrived in 1990, law enforcement officials saw a dramatic increase in violent crime and too many victims like Leonder Goodwin.

This young man's death, however, served as a catalyst for positive change. Shortly after his murder, a group of residents from Hamilton Hill came together to develop strategies to stem the violent crime epidemic in their neighborhood. One suggestion was to use surveillance cameras to assist the Schenectady Police Department and the County District Attorney's Office in their crime-fighting efforts, and to help residents feel safer in their own neighborhood. One year later, this idea became reality when federal and private funding allowed the County District Attorney's Office to purchase and install five street-level security cameras in the Hamilton Hill neighborhood. Not long after installation, the County District Attorney's Office converted the network infrastructure to wireless technology and selected a camera vendor (Eclipse Solutions), through the competitive bidding process, capable of expanding and refining this Public Surveillance Camera Project (PSCP).

A key supporter of the project since its inception has been Schenectady's Weed and Seed site. Established in 2004, the site covers the Hamilton Hill and adjacent Vale neighborhoods. The Weed and Seed Steering Committee provided critical funding to assist in purchasing and installing cameras within the federally designated site area. Another important supporter of the project is the City of Schenectady Police Department. Through the leadership of Chief of Police Michael Geraci, the cameras play a pivotal role in the department's criminal intelligence and crime-fighting efforts.

Ten PSCP cameras are operating within the city, nine of which are located in the Weed and Seed site, and they seem to have greatly assisted in crime-fighting efforts within the site. For instance, Tony's Market, a corner store on the street where Goodwin was killed, was the scene of many calls to police before a PSCP camera was installed across the street from the market in October 2004. In the 2 1/2 years since the camera was installed, calls for police service to Tony's Market have decreased by an astonishing 71 percent.

How Cameras Fight Crime
The PSCP cameras record images that are stored digitally for 2 weeks. When crimes occur within range of a camera, they are digitally captured and archived images are searched for evidence that may be useful in solving the crimes or in prosecuting offenders. For example, cameras have captured a hit-and-run pedestrian collision and a shooting. In one case, the camera's image of the vehicle used by an armed robber showed enough detail to help identify, arrest, and prosecute the career criminal who committed the robbery.

The cameras are most useful when a trained operator is monitoring ongoing street activity. Since the cameras' installation in fall 2003, undercover officers in 39 buy-bust drug operations have coordinated their activities with a camera operator. Using the camera's pan, tilt, and zoom functions, operators attempt to record any street-level drug buy within range and to include a closeup of the perpetrator. Captured images are used in prosecution. Stored images of about 27 narcotics sales have served as evidence in the charging phase of prosecution, and no defendant has opted for a trial when facing this evidence. On other occasions, police have surveyed street-level activity and arrested people for possession of narcotics based on probable cause seen and recorded. Recorded images of bar patrons drinking beer and smoking marijuana in a parking lot outside a problem bar helped the New York State Liquor Authority to close the establishment.

Cameras have also been used to protect officers by surveying an area before, during, and after officers execute search warrants, and they have been used to monitor parks and a neighborhood pool and to deter vandalism.

Public Surveillance Cameras and the Future
Because of Hamilton Hill's success with PSCP, other neighborhoods now want cameras, and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services has selected PSCP to be a pilot project for the state. For this project, the state is providing funding to expand PSCP by nearly 40 camera locations over the next year. As the project evolves, funds will be allocated for more routine and frequent monitoring and for the development of portable cameras. Also, with a research partner, the State University of Albany, the County District Attorney's Office plans to study the overall impact of cameras as a crime reduction tool. Previous academic reviews of camera systems have focused on closed-circuit television rather than a wireless network that is fully integrated with the police and district attorney's office, such as the one being developed in Schenectady.

The city is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, and PSCP cameras are part of it. An arts and entertainment district is developing around Proctor's Theatre, a beautifully renovated vaudeville house that is now a major regional theatre complex. Downtown Schenectady and the area around one of America's oldest colleges, Union College, are undergoing considerable redevelopment and renewal.

For revitalization of Schenectady to continue, the public must be confident that its city is safe. Crime trends have been very encouraging during the first half of 2007. Among the 18 counties in upstate New York with urban crime problems, Schenectady is in the top 2 for the greatest percentage of crime reduction. The County District Attorney's Office believes that the camera project is helping to achieve these results and is optimistic that, as this program grows, there will be fewer victims of violent crime like Goodwin.

For more information, contact:
Bill Nowak
Schenectady County Bureau Chief of Criminal Intelligence and PSCP Coordinator

Rick Voris
Schenectady County Investigator and PSCP Operations Manager
518–382–5200 (x5502)


New Format Available for Law Enforcement Training
Previously available on CD-ROM, Español for Law Enforcement is now available free online from the National Institute of Justice. The exercises guide students through a course that provides them with a working knowledge of the Spanish language and teaches them to apply this knowledge to scenarios that involve interviews, crime scenes, motor vehicles, and domestic violence. Available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/201801.htm.

Test Results Available for Hardware Write Block Devices
The National Institute of Justice has released four reports presenting test assertions, environments, and results on two hardware write block devices: FastBloc FE (both USB Interface at http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/218378.pdf and FireWire Interface at http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/218379.pdf) and Tableau T5 Forensic IDE Bridge (both USB Interface at http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/218380.pdf and FireWire Interface at http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/218381.pdf). The reports are available online only.

Enhancing Communication and Interoperability in Public Safety
Public Safety Communications and Interoperability, produced by the National Institute of Justice as part of its In Short series, explains the three main barriers to public safety agencies' communications and interoperability: incompatible frequencies, incompatible equipment, and lack of common language. It also outlines steps that can be taken to address these problems. Available at http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/214331.pdf.

Portable Guide Targets Online Predators
Use of Computers in the Sexual Exploitation of Children describes the characteristics and methods of sexual predators who use computers to target children, provides best practices for investigations involving computer evidence, and summarizes the legal principles governing the search and seizure of computer systems. Available at http://ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/publications/PubAbstract.asp?pubi=235688.

Community Policing

New Substation To Decrease Crime, Restore the Neighborhood
By Kathy Garrison, Madisonville Weed and Seed Site Coordinator

In mid-August, the Madisonville Weed and Seed site in Cincinnati, OH, completed an urban renewal project in the heart of its business district that transformed two long-vacant storefronts into a new substation and a permanent Weed and Seed office. Renovating this property, which was donated by a local church, is part of the site's strategy of combining community policing with neighborhood restoration. By making its area safer and cleaner, the site also hopes this project will serve as a catalyst to revitalizing the whole community.

With the new substation, the police, both juvenile and adult probation officers, and the group Citizens On Patrol have a home base in the community. Likewise, the Weed and Seed initiative now has a permanent office where it can sustain the work that it has begun in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Cincinnati.

Equally important, these facilities mark the beginning of the urban renewal of the central business district. Recent grants have helped the area to renovate its buildings' façades, but this has been the only overhaul of buildings in many years. It heralds the actual brick-and-mortar improvement in the physical structures that make up the community of Madisonville.

The Power of People
This new beginning started small. The Madisonville Weed and Seed Steering Committee developed a strong relationship with the New Life Temple, a local church. Last spring, the church donated two disused storefronts that it owned in the business district to the Weed and Seed efforts: one for the police substation and one for the Weed and Seed office. Both properties needed a tremendous amount of renovation, but members of the community saw this as a great opportunity to fulfill part of the Weed and Seed strategy and jump-start economic redevelopment in Madisonville. A church from one of the more affluent neighborhoods provided approximately $28,000 and many volunteers for the project. The outpouring of volunteers has been remarkable, with the community logging in well over 5,000 hours of volunteer help.

The project is an example of what a community can do with little to no funds but a lot of willing hearts. A grant from Cincinnati's Neighborhood Business District Improvement Project (NBDIP) provided half the funds. The NBDIP assists Cincinnati communities by providing funding for projects that stabilize, maintain, and improve the city's neighborhood business districts. Architects designed the offices pro bono and local merchants donated the building materials. Then, individuals throughout the community volunteered their time and skill-sets as engineers, construction company owners, bricklayers, drywall plasterers, electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. For instance, a local business learned about the renovation and agreed to provide additional electricians to install the service-entry wiring. Also, the project used individuals whom city officials had sentenced to community service, leading to an unexpected benefit: people who were previously on destructive paths in life gained invaluable relationships with staff members and volunteers at the Weed and Seed site.

To fulfill its increased law enforcement needs during the renovation, the Weed and Seed site acquired other grant monies so it could bring in the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department temporarily to inform the prostitutes and other criminals that the community would no longer tolerate their presence. Today, the prostitutes who lingered in that block are gone. The drug dealers and the users who shot up in the back of the buildings are gone too. The constant coming and going of workers along with the constant patrol of police have moved the criminal element from that block. The site's continued hope is that as it moves forward as a community, the crime will continue to decrease.

It's Just the Beginning
With the new substation, the community has made half of a city block cleaner and safer. The revitalization of the community is already evident. Two other storefronts on the block will be renovated to provide space for new businesses, and the old restaurant that was located next door is already starting to clean up its building. The synergy is catching. The area will be landscaped with flower pots and a patio garden in the back, and new lights will be installed.

Change will continue. The city is getting on board with the community with extensive code enforcements. The community is creating a "Quality of Life" group to help identify problems such as blighted homes and buildings, tall weeds, and abandoned cars—issues that the city has promised to resolve swiftly. And last but not least, the renovated properties give the police and community something to show off, something that spurs them to say to others, "Look what we can do if everyone works together."

For more information, please contact:
Kathy Garrison, Site Coordinator

Crime Watch Toolkit Reaches Out to Spanish Speakers in Dallas

The Ferguson Road Initiative (FRI) in Dallas, TX, has developed a bilingual Crime Watch toolkit to meet the specific challenge of organizing Spanish-speaking neighborhoods in its 2-Points Weed and Seed site. The printed document is in English on one side, but when it is flipped over the exact same information is printed in Spanish. "One of the biggest problems we face in our area is having good Crime Watch information in Spanish, especially when attempting to penetrate and organize a neighborhood that is predominately Spanish speaking," said Kerry Goodwin, 2-Points Weed and Seed Site Coordinator.

Neighborhood Crime Watch groups have been very successful for FRI. By the time FRI's first Weed and Seed site—the original Ferguson Road Corridor Weed and Seed site—earned Graduated Status, the number of neighborhood Crime Watch groups in the community had grown from 4 to about 20. These groups contributed to the site's 61-percent reduction in violent crime and 26.5-percent reduction in overall crime since 1998.

The 2-Points community adjacent to the Ferguson Road Weed and Seed site had a crime rate 50 to 100 percent higher than the Weed and Seed site for the same period. So when FRI sought and received Official Recognition for the adjacent 2-Points neighborhood, Crime Watch groups were important components of its community policing strategy.

For the law enforcement community, the 2-Points community is often one of Dallas's most violent neighborhoods. FRI's original Letter of Intent demonstrated that in the category of violent crimes per 10,000 persons, FRI's 2-Points community had experienced 8.12 forcible rapes as compared to 2.88 nationally, 86.24 aggravated assaults compared to 28.58 nationally, 88.27 robberies compared to 12.91 nationally, and 70.51 drug arrests compared to 38.42 nationally. Of the more than 19,300 residents, 67 percent live in apartments, 32 percent live below the federal poverty line, and nearly 13 percent are unemployed. Also, a third of the population is Hispanic, with from 80 to 90 percent of 2-Points' schoolchildren speaking and living in households where Spanish is the predominant language, and where over 90 percent are on the Free Lunch program.

FRI developed a Crime Watch Toolkit to address these challenges. It is based on their experiences in their original site and designed to be a "how to" guide for starting, organizing, and maintaining a neighborhood Crime Watch. "We saw holes in our approach and realized we needed to develop some basic tools," said Goodwin. "I do a lot of public speaking [about the importance of forming Crime Watch groups] and found myself saying the same things over and over. With the toolkit, I can leave valuable 'how-to' information behind."

According to Goodwin, the main concerns when developing the toolkit were practicality and clarity. "It has nothing that's new and fancy," he admits. Rather, it is a collection of information and best practices gathered from past efforts and other sources. The first section of the toolkit, Crime Watch Basics, covers topics such as—

The other sections of the toolkit include—

"It was a real group effort," said Goodwin. "A board member collected the material, one of our police officers did the Spanish translation, and a nonprofit foundation paid for the printing."

The toolkits are being distributed at community meetings and other events such as the neighborhood's recent National Night Out activities. To create interest, the site asks local students to get involved in transforming their community by putting fliers on every door in the neighborhood, inviting residents to a community meeting in a local church. "This is the next step after seeing enough bad things in their neighborhoods," said Goodwin. "People leave these meetings and are ready to take back their communities. The toolkit gives them community organizing assistance to get people moving."

Recognizing that other Weed and Seed sites might find the Crime Watch Toolkit valuable, FRI wants to share it with interested sites. "We are willing to give anyone an electronic copy of our publication. This would allow folks everywhere, if facing the same problem, a ready-made publication (template) that they can customize to their own community," concluded Goodwin.

For more information, please contact:
Kerry Goodwin
2-Points Weed and Seed Site Coordinator

Fallen Officer Honored by Seattle Weed and Seed Site
By Betsy Harris, Seattle Weed and Seed Sites Steering Committee Cochair

In the early morning hours of December 2, 2006, Deputy Steve Cox was murdered in the line of duty in the Seattle community of White Center. He was integral to the early success of the White Center Weed and Seed site, and the White Center community and city of Seattle mourn this loss.

Deputy Cox served on the Steering Committee; participated on Weed and Seed law enforcement emphasis patrols, the monthly law enforcement/community public safety meetings, and community-policing projects; and acted as White Center storefront deputy.

White Center is one of three Weed and Seed sites in Seattle. It had just received Official Recognition when Deputy Cox came on board with the Weed and Seed strategy. Many years before he had become a successful prosecutor, but found himself feeling unfulfilled. He wanted to make a difference before a person got into trouble, so in his late 30s he became a law enforcement officer. Eventually, he chose to work and raise his family in his old neighborhood, a small community that the rest of Seattle had shunned because of its high levels of crime.

Today, the residents of this neighborhood call Deputy Cox a hero. No one knew everyone in White Center as well as he did. He worked tirelessly, making social contacts all night long, giving community members his cell phone number and telling them to call him if something was not right. He relied on the area's residents to be the "front lines" against crime and his commitment inspired everyone to work harder to make the neighborhood safe. Even when he seemed idle he was working. He knew when many people got off work, and you could always find him parked in a store parking lot at night, doing followup, watching a bus stop to make sure that women traveling alone at night would get safely on and off the bus without any hassle from nearby hustlers.

He'd tell people, "You commit a crime in White Center, you're going to jail." He meant it and they knew it. Steve would drive by "regulars" and check in with them, asking if they were still on probation and on the right track, or if he was going to have to transport them back downtown. And they respected him so much that they would answer truthfully. So no one was surprised when people he had arrested stopped by the huge, ever-growing memorial residents had created to pay their respects and comment on his influence on their lives. In particular, a former drug-addicted prostitute shared a heartfelt poem about his impact on her life.

Deputy Cox inspired others to work with him to redevelop their small community into a place that people were not ashamed to call home. He became the measure of what community policing is supposed to be. A Sheriff's Deputy for King County, he understood the Weed and Seed strategy and was deeply committed to working with the Seattle Police Department and other community partners, businesses, and residents in making the community a safer place for all. White Center is on the boundary between city and county, and the site was one of the first multijurisdictional collaborations to be developed using the Weed and Seed strategy. Deputy Cox could always be counted on to participate in strategy meetings, community events, youth programs, and anything else requested of him.

In addition to his many official responsibilities supporting the Weed and Seed site and surrounding neighborhoods, Cox volunteered on community improvement projects in his civilian life. At Saturday neighborhood cleanup events, he would lead groups of youth in cleaning a park or apartment complex. He was president of the Community Council and was always encouraging residents to participate so that the council would be truly representative of the community.

Deputy Cox was a hero to the citizens of White Center. He leaves a lasting legacy, and the community will carry on this legacy by working toward the continued success of the White Center Weed and Seed strategy and making the neighborhood a safer place for all families.

For more information, contact:
Betsy Harris
Seattle Weed and Seed Sites Steering Committee


Interactions Between Police and the Public Examined
Contacts between Police and the Public, 2005 presents data from a 12-month period on the nature and characteristics of face-to-face contacts between residents of the United States and the police. The report also provides demographic and other characteristics of residents involved in traffic stops and use-of-force incidents. Available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/cpp05.htm.

A New Resource
Community Policing Explained: A Guide for Local Governments assists communities in determining what questions to ask about community policing, provides guidance in how to tailor community policing to community needs and available resources, and guides local government managers and administrators with their thinking about how to measure the effectiveness of a community policing approach. Available at http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/ric/ResourceDetail.aspx?RID=430.


Syracuse Youth Find Common Ground Through Skateboarding
By Maria Fibiger, Community Partnerships Director, Syracuse Weed and Seed Community Partnership

What happens when you bring about 100 skateboarding youth together with the New York State National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, local law enforcement, the district attorney's office, the local U.S. Attorney's Office, a neighborhood association, and a local church on a 90+ degree summer day? An awesome SK8 Jam presented by the Syracuse Weed and Seed Community Partnership!

Pronounced "skate jam," these events are popular competitions in the skateboarding community. For this one, collaboration was the key to making it a successful activity for city of Syracuse youth on 2 hazy, hot, and humid days in July. The site's Seed Committee had identified that many kids were skateboarding in the area, but really had no designated place to do so, much to the ire of many residence and business owners. With school out of session, many kids in the community also needed something to do that would be fun, healthy, and, of course, free. That's where the New York State National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force's Combat Skate Jam program saved the day. This community-based skateboard competition combines youth drug education with a National Guard-delivered mobile skate park. The National Guard provides the equipment for the event, assists with staffing, and brings along some terrific prizes paid for with funding from seized drug assets.

So, with the activity ready to roll, the next steps were to find a venue, secure volunteers, publicize and get the word out to all skateboarding youth in the area. The Weed and Seed site connected with the East Woods Skate Park Committee of the city's Northside residential area, whose members helped secure a spot for the SK8 Jam, spread the word about it, and provided volunteers. They even cooked hot dogs for the kids. This group was especially excited about the event because its members are working to raise funds to develop a proposed skate park in their neighborhood. The Reformed Church of Syracuse provided its parking lot, a perfect place for the skateboarders to do their thing on the National Guard's ramps and grinding equipment, while volunteers from local law enforcement agencies; Rural Metro Medical Services of Central New York, Syracuse; and the local Salvation Army helped to create a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for the kids. The teamwork of all these agencies and organizations produced a well-constructed and successful event.

SK8 Jam was undeniably fun, but what impressed all of the partners as the event rolled along was the respect, support, and collaboration the skateboarders gave to each other. Kids from all sides of the city participated in the free-skate and competition portions of the event without incident, confrontation, or difficulty. In a community with more than 40 identified gangs, many of which prey on youth, this type of positive interaction can be rare. Many of the kids in attendance were from different schools, diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, and distinct neighborhoods. None of that mattered to them. What mattered was their common ground—their appreciation for skateboarding. Kids who typically might be a part of turf battles in various neighborhoods worked together to learn skateboarding skills, showed each other new tricks, made way for kids who were less experienced, and mutually benefited from each other's presence. Their character and behavior throughout the SK8 Jam was inspiring and promising.

At first glance, the big picture of what it would take for the Syracuse Weed and Seed site to present a skateboarding event seemed daunting, a bit overwhelming, but definitely a must-do activity for the area's youth. The key to SK8 Jam was the collaborative and cooperative efforts and expertise of all the event's partners and volunteers. More importantly, the site discovered that the commonality, team spirit, and harmony of the skateboarders superseded all expectations.

For more information, contact:
Maria Fibiger
Community Partnerships Director
Syracuse Weed and Seed Community Partnership
315–474–1939, ext. 235

DEFY Camp Success for New Weed and Seed Site
By Joan Scanlon, Site Coordinator, Weed and Seed of Upper Darby Township

Officially recognized as a new site in June 2006, the Weed and Seed site of Upper Darby Township, Delaware County, PA, embarked on setting up the Weeding and the Seeding parts of the initiative. On the Seeding end, the one program that appeared to be a great opportunity for the children was DEFY.

For more than 10 years, the Department of the Navy (DON) has opened to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Weed and Seed sites their Drug Education for Youth (DEFY) program. DEFY works to equip children from at-risk neighborhoods with the tools they need to resist drugs, gangs, and alcohol. At the heart of the program is the DEFY Summer Camp, where children can have fun while learning about leadership, team building, conflict resolution, and goal setting, and can acquire increased self-confidence. The program has two phases: Phase I is the residential summer camp (5 days and 4 nights), and Phase II continues with a 10-month mentoring program during the school year. Residential camps for Phase I are usually held at a National Guard base or military facility.

To find out more about DEFY and how to put this program together, Carol Neylan, DOJ, encouraged the site coordinator, Joan Scanlon, to attend the DEFY Annual Summit being held in Nashville, TN, in January 2007.

The conference was a positive experience filled not only with facts and data that were useful but also with a diversity of people that were a wealth of knowledge from past DEFY camps. The DON and DOJ combined efforts made the conference a success.

Scanlon went back to the Weed and Seed site of Upper Darby Township ready to make DEFY a reality for children of the targeted area. Receiving tremendous support from Mayor F. Raymond Shay, District Attorney G. Michael Green, and Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, she put DEFY camp plans in place.

Identifying mentors was paramount. Scanlon contacted the Weed and Seed Partners, primarily Upper Darby Township, the District Attorney of Delaware County, and the Upper Darby Police Department because Phase I being 5 days and 4 nights could have been an issue. The Weed and Seed partners came through with flying colors, authorizing employees to attend Phase I of DEFY, the camp, with pay. This made it easy for interested people to volunteer. Phase II of DEFY is not such a problem because its monthly meetings do not cut into work time.

Next, a meeting for potential mentors explained DEFY in detail. Scanlon was able to solidify 10 mentors who could go to the camp and were willing to continue through the school year as mentors. The mentors included Joan Scanlon, Weed and Seed coordinator; two township administrators (John McMullan and James Maloney); three assistant district attorneys (Joseph Lesniak, Ian McCurdy, and Wana Saadzoi); a police officer (James Billie); and three recent graduates in early childhood education (Sabrina Perry, Trevor Deter, Elizabeth Martinelli). Joe Lesniak and Ian McCurdy both are Eagle Scouts and Joe Lesniak is also an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Because the DEFY conference stressed the need for medically trained staff, Scanlon wanted to make sure an EMT or paramedic would be present.

Scanlon then contacted Sgt. Michael Reardon at the National Guard Base at Indiantown Gap, partner for this DEFY camp. The camp dates were confirmed and Sgt. Reardon agreed to come to the Weed and Seed site to meet with the mentors and school counselors from the Weed and Seed area elementary schools.

The meeting discussed the specifics of the camp and DEFY. The elementary school counselors were asked to provide a list of children they felt would most benefit from this program. The counselors left with DEFY brochures and information defining DEFY that they could send home with students. Scanlon put together these brochures and information on DEFY using the material she received at the DEFY Summit.

As with most DOJ DEFY camps, the Upper Darby Township DEFY camp was paid for primarily through the Weed and Seed grant. This site also received some donations for such things as bathing suits (many of the kids did not own a bathing suit and an afternoon at the pool was in the itinerary), toiletries, journals, and sm'ores (what's a camp without them?). Matching funds came through the partners of Weed and Seed whose employees took part in the DEFY camp.

Sgt. Reardon was an invaluable source of information and suggestions. He provided several camp agendas so that Scanlon could model Upper Darby's camp around them and he also suggested having the camp catered. This eliminated having to bring food to camp and extra personnel to prepare it.

Another meeting for the campers, parents, and mentors explained the DEFY program and camp. Thirty-one parents came to the meeting. Many of their questions could be answered because of the DEFY conference. Questions revolved around what DEFY was, how the children were chosen, the activities that would go on at camp, how the mentors were chosen, and what would happen after camp. Parents received copies of a DEFY brochure and the camp itinerary and were reassured that background checks and child abuse checks were done for each mentor.

Having the mentors at the meeting give a brief description of their backgrounds was very helpful. This put the parents at ease, many of whom are single-parents and immigrants. Only one child from that meeting was unable to attend the DEFY camp, and this was because the family was moving.

With the final count for camp at 30 children (17 boys and 13 girls), it was decided to meet one more time for a pizza party. This gave everyone an opportunity to get to know each other and for the parents to complete the necessary forms (e.g., permission slips, insurance information). It was a great ice breaker and the parents felt at ease when they saw how quickly the children warmed to the mentors.

On June 25, 2007, the campers were off to the National Guard base at Indiantown Gap. The camp went off without a problem: no accidents or reportable injuries. The days began bright and early at 6 a.m. when everyone gathered for PT (physical training). Then it was off to breakfast and to the scheduled activities. Witnessing the children's reactions to new experiences such as the obstacle course and LRC (Leadership Reaction Course) and their will to succeed in every event was priceless. They were awed by the helicopters, tanks, and other military equipment they were able to tour and have "hands on" experience with by climbing through and pretending to operate. Every day was packed full of things to do.

There were leadership games, team building, conflict resolution, drug and alcohol teaching sessions, and a poster contest for drugs and alcohol that everyone participated in. The children also learned about bullying, family violence, and Internet safety. Education in these subjects was combined with the fun of making posters, writing stories, and having circle talks, and it was clear from their posters and stories that the messages were sinking in. The sessions were facilitated by the mentors from the Delaware County District Attorney's Office, the police, the National Guard, the Weed and Seed coordinator (who is an expert in family violence), and a township official who has a background in conflict resolution.

A scheduled event on the itinerary was an afternoon at the base swimming pool. Some of the children had never been swimming, but an unexplainable exhilaration came over the group. Swimming really broke a lot of barriers, so that kids that were a bit on the shy or reserved side joined in a game of keep away in the pool. The sense of working as a team took over and continued throughout the rest of the camp. It was decided to expand the use of water sports and go for paddle boat and canoe rides at the base lake.

The children wrote thank-you letters to some of the supporters of the camp on the last day. The letters are priceless. The camp was a great experience for not only the campers but also the mentors.

Afterwards, the Weed and Seed site hosted an after-camp barbecue for the children and parents. Twenty of the thirty children were able to attend. They came wearing their DEFY t-shirts and looking for the friends they had met at camp. The children were talking about all the things they did at camp and parents said that's all they hear about. The children were eager to hear about the next meeting. Their enthusiasm was invigorating. The parents are more anxious to get involved now not only with DEFY but also with the Weed and Seed strategy.

Mayor F. Raymond Shay of Upper Darby Township intends to present the DEFY children to the township council and proclaim a "DEFY Day" in Upper Darby Township. Scanlon, the other DEFY mentors, and the DEFY children are all looking forward to the mentoring projects scheduled over the next 10 months. And the Weed and Seed site of Upper Darby Township has already booked next year's DEFY camp with the National Guard.

For more information, please contact:
Joan Scanlon
Site Coordinator
Weed and Seed of Upper Darby Township

Related Resources

DEFY in Tucson, AZ, Weed and Seed sites
In-Sites, spring 2005, http://www.ncjrs.gov/ccdo/in-sites/spring2005/prevention_5.html

DEFY in Phoenix, AZ, Weed and Seed site
In-Sites, winter 2004, http://www.ncjrs.gov/ccdo/in-sites/winter2004/prevention_1.html


New Manual for Weed and Seed
The Weed and Seed Toolbox (Strategizer 51) was developed by CCDO in collaboration with Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. This indepth manual provides coalitions and Weed and Seed communities with the tools to craft better and more sustainable prevention and intervention strategies to improve conditions in their neighborhoods, making them better, healthier, and safer places to live and work. Available at http://cadca.org/members/MembersOnlyPublications/Strategizers/Strat51.pdf.

New SAMHSA eNetwork
The SAMHSA eNetwork, an e-mail notification system, serves as a personal connection to SAMHSA for the latest news about SAMHSA grants, publications, campaigns, programs, and statistics and data reports. Available at http://www.samhsa.gov/enetwork.

New Cost Analysis Report
Costs and Benefits of Agricultural Crime Prevention
This policy brief analyzes the effectiveness of programs combating the theft of agricultural equipment, commodities, and supplies. Available at http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/217907.pdf.

Teenage Drug Abuse and Other Risky Behaviors
The online report Teens, Drugs & Violence shows that teens who use drugs are more likely to commit violent acts, steal, become involved in gangs, and use other illicit drugs and alcohol than nonusers. One key finding is that structured activities and volunteering help keep teens away from drugs. Available at http://www.mediacampaign.org/pdf/TeensDrugsandViolence.pdf.

Neighborhood Restoration

Weed and Seed Partners Win National Awards
By Julia Ryan, Program Director, LISC Community Safety Initiative

Three Weed and Seed sites recently received national recognition by winning the 2007 MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards, which come with grants of $10,000 to $25,000. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and MetLife Foundation announced the 11 winners of this award in July. The MetLife Foundation Community-Police Awards recognize community developers and police who have collaborated to reduce crime and spur housing development, economic activity, and improved community services in troubled neighborhoods.

Administered by LISC's Community Safety Initiative since 2002, the awards have provided technical assistance, training, and grant support to many Weed and Seed sites. The strategies championed by the awards closely align with the driving principles of Weed and Seed—namely, the integration of law enforcement and community-building efforts to achieve long-term neighborhood change. Over the past 6 years, Weed and Seed sites have been recognized in the awards each year. This year, three Weed and Seed affiliates—in Pittsburgh, PA; Aurora, CO; and Seattle, WA—were among the 11 winners chosen from more than 400 applicants by LISC and a panel of police chiefs and community development leaders.

The community organization Lawrenceville United (LU) and the Pittsburgh Police Department were recognized in the Neighborhood Revitalization category for significant achievements in reducing crime and engaging community members in a comprehensive effort to strengthen the economic and social fabric of the Lawrenceville neighborhood. The partners' multifaceted work included targeting enforcement and redevelopment efforts to improve problem properties, creating a block watch network, and maintaining a public safety newsletter to inform residents and engage them in taking back their streets. LU also was an important leader in rolling out the Weed and Seed strategy following site recognition by CCDO in 2006.

In a community where LU says more than half of the housing stock is in "substandard condition," LU staff, volunteers, and police partners work together to make landlords aware of community expectations and responsibilities. When needed, LU staff and volunteers initiate judicial hearings for property owners charged with housing code violations and testify at them. They also work with police, the Bureau of Building Inspection, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and housing development partners to prosecute negligent owners and secure problem properties for redevelopment into quality affordable housing and commercial space.

In Colorado, the Aurora Police Department and other partners of the East Aurora Weed and Seed site, working with the Original Aurora Renewal program (part of the city's Neighborhood Services Department), won a special MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award recognizing their Drug Market Disruption strategy. With input from more than 36 departments and organizations, the Aurora partners tackled entrenched narcotics activity in their neighborhood through targeted law enforcement operations, collaboration with local prosecutors to ensure appropriate sentencing, and efforts to engage youth, residents, and businesses in preventing drug crime. Efforts to abate the drug market were integrated with long-term revitalization plans, which included attracting artists and related economic development to the neighborhood and ensuring that enforcement solutions were backed up by sustainable neighborhood redevelopment supported by city agencies and area nonprofit organizations.

The Aurora partners also conducted safety trainings with property managers and sponsored bilingual drug prevention workshops for community members. As a result, over the past 3 years the rate of reported drug incidents in the Weed and Seed area dropped substantially while the citywide rate remained comparatively steady.

In Seattle, HomeSight, a housing-related nonprofit organization, and the Seattle Police Department were recognized for their "Curbing Crime, One Street at a Time" project, a strategic effort to reduce crime and improve perceptions of neighborhood safety in the Southeast Seattle Weed and Seed area. Strategies used include promoting infrastructure repair, conducting regular community cleanups, and installing local public art, all of which provide a constant reminder that people care for the neighborhood and will not tolerate disorder.

One project centered on redesigning a bus shelter that had faced away from the street, inadvertently creating a concealed space for drug sales and prostitution. The new shelter, decorated by local artists, opens onto the street instead of the sidewalk, where it can be easily monitored by motorists and police officers. Another effort sought to stop people from parking their cars on the sidewalk of a residential street and reduce the debris that accumulated in a streetside gulley. Installing new curbs on the street changed patterns and slowed down traffic, increasing physical safety for both pedestrians and motorists. The curbs have also reduced litter and bolstered residents' sense of pride and ownership. Residents have been so pleased that they have helped one of HomeSight's main partners raise funds so they can add curbs to the other side of the street in the next year.

LISC encourages Weed and Seed partners and other community organizations and police departments to apply for the MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards. At least one lead applicant must be a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. LISC will release the request for proposals (RFP) for the next round of the awards in January 2008.

For more information or to be added to the RFP mailing list, contact:
Julia Ryan, Program Director
LISC Community Safety Initiative

IDA Demonstration Project
By Maureen Garrity, Consultant, CU Breakthrough, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions

In 2005, CCDO had a question: could Individual Development Accounts—commonly known as "IDAs"—serve as a tool to promote home ownership in Weed and Seed sites? To answer that question, CCDO formed a partnership with the Assets for Independence (AFI) program of the Office of Community Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Weed and Seed IDA Demonstration project was born.

IDAs are restricted, matched savings accounts that help low-income people save money that can be put toward an appreciating asset. In most IDA programs, matched savings may be used to help purchase a first home, pay for higher education, or capitalize a small business. But the Weed and Seed IDA Demonstration Project focused on only one of these assets—home ownership—to test the impact of a geographically concentrated asset-building strategy on community stability and neighborhood revitalization.

About IDAs

CCDO partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services (OCS) to enhance asset-building strategies in Weed and Seed sites through Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Combined with financial literacy and Earned Income Tax Credits, IDAs can increase the capacity of low- to moderate-income families to accumulate long-term assets that provide financial security. The Weed and Seed IDA National Demonstration Project, a cooperative effort between OCS and CCDO, is assessing the impact of increased home ownership in Weed and Seed neighborhoods.

Find out more at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ccdo/programs/partnerships.html#idas.

In the last quarter of 2005, CCDO asked all Weed and Seed sites that were interested in the IDA pilot project to submit Letters of Intent to participate. Thirty-eight sites responded and 20 sites were invited to an initial training workshop in Tucson, Arizona. CCDO selected the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (through its CU Breakthrough program) to provide technical assistance to help individual sites design their IDA programs and, if appropriate, apply for grants through the federal Assets for Independence (AFI) program. After initial training and consultation, half of the sites decided they were not ready to go forward with IDAs during the demonstration project's timeframe, although most remain interested in pursuing IDAs in the future.

Six Weed and Seed sites applied for AFI grants to establish new IDA grants in their communities and all six were successful. These six grants—for Nogales and Yuma, AZ; Racine, WI; Great Falls, MT; Newburg, KY; and Gastonia, NC—will help nearly 250 individuals or families to purchase homes within their Weed and Seed neighborhoods over the 5-year grant period. These sites have leveraged $615,588 in matching funds that will directly benefit their communities.

Another four sites established formal partnerships with current IDA providers that will expand those programs into the Weed and Seed neighborhoods. The Weed and Seed sites in Atlanta, GA, and Brownsville, TX, both partnered with their local United Way organizations. Atlanta Weed and Seed also contributed to a successful application to augment the AFI grant funding available to United Way. In Ogden, UT, the Weed and Seed site established a partnership with the Utah IDA Network, a national leader in mobilizing local and federal resources for statewide IDA programs. Finally, the Weed and Seed site in Pine Bluff, AR, partnered with the Southern Good Faith Fund, one of the nation's most successful IDA programs, which immediately made 25 fully funded home ownership IDA accounts available to the site.

Although most of the sites have been operating their IDA programs for less than a year, they have already opened 96 accounts. Tanya Canady, Weed and Seed IDA Coordinator for Racine, says that most account holders tell her they thought that their dream of owning a home was not possible due to their low incomes. Individuals who open an IDA with the Weed and Seed demonstration sites receive matching funds, ranging from $2 to $5 for each dollar they deposit into their account. In addition, IDA programs include support services such as budget counseling and home ownership workshops to help participants achieve their goals.

One of the central lessons learned so far is that IDA partnerships can bring unexpected benefits. In Brownsville, United Way of Cameron County is coordinating a team of local financial institutions that are working to develop alternatives to predatory lending. The partnerships created for the IDA project will bring these affordable alternatives to the residents of the Weed and Seed site. These same partners also collaborate on a Free Tax Assistance Project that helped local families access more than $940,000 in Earned Income Tax Credits for the 2006 tax year.

Partnerships have also been the keys to success for the Weed and Seed IDA Demonstration site in Racine, WI. Racine Weed and Seed has developed a partnership with the local housing authority, which has enabled the site to enroll eight people with disabilities as new IDA account holders. All of these individuals are in the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program, which also makes them eligible for the Section 8 Homeownership Voucher Program that allows vouchers to be used to make monthly mortgage payments.

In Great Falls, the Weed and Seed IDA Demonstration site has a partnership with the Montana Home Choice Coalition, whose goal is to create better community housing choices for all people living with disabilities. The coalition has helped more than 40 people with disabilities to purchase homes, overcoming the many financial and regulatory complications involved. The World Institute on Disability Access to Assets Program provided technical assistance to the Great Falls and Racine Weed and Seed sites to help address these challenges.

In addition, Great Falls, Racine, and Ogden all have partnerships with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) Revitalization Area Program, which also can expand home ownership opportunities in targeted neighborhoods. For example, Revitalization Areas are eligible for the Good Neighbor Next Door program that enables police officers, firefighters, teachers, and emergency medical technicians to purchase HUD-owned homes at 50 percent of their appraised value. This program promotes neighborhood restoration by encouraging people who are committed to public safety and education—the pillars of strong communities—to purchase and live in homes located in economically distressed neighborhoods.

For more information about the IDA Demonstration project, contact:
Maureen Garrity
CU Breakthrough
National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions

For more information about the Access to Assets Program, contact:
Thomas Foley
Access to Assets Project Manager
World Institute on Disability
510 16th Street, Suite 100
Oakland, CA 94612
Fax: 510–763–4109


High-Cost Lending Practices Can Endanger Minority Communities
Income is No Shield Against Racial Differences in Lending analyzes high-cost lending in America's major metropolitan areas, revealing high-cost lending targeted at minorities that leaves their communities vulnerable to multiple foreclosures. Available at http://www.ncrc.org/pressandpubs/documents/NCRC%20metro%20study%20race%20and%20income%20disparity%20July%2007.pdf.

Evidence of Disparities in Lending Practices in Baton Rouge
Fair Lending Helps Community Prosperity shows that minorities and low- and middle-income borrowers experienced fair lending disparities in the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area in 2005. Available at http://www.ncrc.org/pressandpubs/documents/NCRC%20report%20on%20Baton%20Rouge.pdf.

Services for Low-Income Parents With Challenges That Make Working Difficult
Hard-to-Employ Parents: A Review of Their Characteristics and the Programs Designed to Serve Their Needs looks at the difficulties many low-income parents face in finding or keeping jobs. It then examines related safety-net services developed since the establishment of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in 1996. Wide variation in states' welfare policies and needy recipients' access to local services pose special challenges to low-income parents who already have barriers to employment. Available at http://www.urban.org/publications/411504.html.


Sunnyside Weed and Seed Cosponsors First Job Fair at County Jail

In June, the Sunnyside Weed and Seed site in Flagstaff, AZ, cosponsored the first job fair ever held inside the Coconino County Detention Facility. For the first time, inmates could apply for employment from jail to help them begin the process of successfully moving back into the community. In addition to Sunnyside and the jail, other sponsors included the Arizona Workforce Connection, Native Americans for Community Action, and Goodwill Industries. Flagstaff's Southside community also has a designated Weed and Seed site, and its community association got involved as well.

The idea for a job fair emerged as an extension of the employment skills classes offered at the jail since November 2006. The classes, held every Saturday afternoon, are designed to help people in jail gain the basic computer and employment skills they will need to reach eventual long-term self-sufficiency when they return to their old neighborhoods. The classes cover job search skills, creating a résumé, career decisionmaking and planning, effective applications, interviewing techniques, and how to stay employed.

Both the job fair and the employment classes are projects of Genisis-X. Funded in part by Weed and Seed and launched in December 2005, Genisis-X (which stands for Growth & Empowerment Neighborhood Initiative for Strengthening the Individual Success of eX-felons) is a joint Sunnyside and Southside neighborhood reentry initiative. Its personnel work with ex-offenders and their probation or parole officers to help them return successfully to Flagstaff's Sunnyside and Southside neighborhoods by offering referrals to jobs, housing, education, and other social services to help fulfill their needs (e.g., for clothing, food, furniture, counseling).

During its first year of operation Genisis-X served more than three times as many clients as it had planned for, and its employment success rate has been high. In 2006, 53 individuals on probation from jail or parole from prison found employment, housing, information about continuing education, and other services through Genisis-X. Of these 53 participants, 38 are employed (73 percent). The types of work these ex-offenders obtained include construction, cooking, medical data coding, motel housecleaning and front office work, work in a newspaper mailroom or pressroom, restaurant maintenance, restaurant service, steel fabrication, telemarketing, and warehouse management.

Another successful program is the Genisis-X Work Night, which is a 2-hour workshop held every Tuesday night at Sunnyside One-Stop, a neighborhood employment and skills training center. The workshops are designed to help people dealing with a misdemeanor or felony conviction to find employment. Each month has a theme. With June's theme of "Getting Ahead," for example, every Tuesday focused on job-related issues such as managing a job and family, keeping the creditors away, using school to get ahead, and 10 steps to landing your dream job.

Genisis-X is part of the crime prevention piece of Flagstaff's strategy for its Weed and Seed sites in the Sunnyside and Southside neighborhoods. Sunnyside was designated as a Weed and Seed site in 1999 because of its high level of crime, blight, and poverty. According to the U.S. Census (2000), more than 50 percent of the neighborhood's population receives some type of governmental subsidy, and 34 percent of the households are headed by single female parents. In 1999, Sunnyside had a crime rate 12 percent above what the Flagstaff Police Department considered the "norm." Now, after 7 years of Weed and Seed, the crime rate in Sunnyside is approximately 2 percent above the norm.

The newer Weed and Seed site, Southside, received its Official Recognition in 2004. As the oldest continuously occupied neighborhood in Flagstaff, it has historically been considered the "rough" side of the railroad tracks that divide Flagstaff in half and is still considered the poor part of town. According to economic statistics from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the mean income for a family of four in Flagstaff is $39,000, but for Southside it is $18,000, which means that many families in that neighborhood live well below poverty income levels. Not surprisingly, Southside mirrors Sunnyside in its unusually high crime rates.

The response to the job fair has been very positive in both neighborhoods. The hope is that including Genisis-X in its Weed and Seed strategy will help Southside be as successful in reducing its crime rate as Sunnyside has been.

For more information, contact:
Manuel Benavidez, Genisis-X Program Manager
2304 North Third Street
Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Addressing Prisoner Reentry

Defining the Problem
Each year more than 600,000 adult inmates are released from state and federal prisons, while an estimated 100,000 juveniles and youthful offenders are released from secure and residential detention centers. Unfortunately, ex-offenders returning to their communities can threaten the fragile cohesion of many of our most troubled neighborhoods. More often than not, the conditions that led them to crime and subsequently to prison—a lack of adequate education, little or no access to labor markets, and few or no connections to positive social support networks—are still present when they are released. Ex-offenders also experience substance abuse and addiction, mental illness, domestic violence, and myriad other challenges that can increase the likelihood that they will return to jail. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 50 percent of those released from incarceration will be in some form of legal trouble within 3 years.

Planning Partners
Communities have learned that reentry programs must assist offenders in acquiring the life skills they need to succeed in the community and to become law-abiding citizens. This means that ex-offenders need help obtaining adequate housing, remaining drug free, maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends, and securing and sustaining legitimate employment. Effective reentry programs integrate a comprehensive case management approach, providing wraparound services that help ex-offenders remain outside the criminal justice system's revolving door. In addition to the more obvious partners—corrections agencies, judicial systems, and law enforcement departments—other key players are—

Prevention and Intervention Strategies
Ideally, prisoner reentry programs begin while individuals are still incarcerated and continue throughout an offender's transition to, and stabilization within, a community. The U.S. Department of Justice's Prisoner Reentry Initiative focuses on three phases that Weed and Seed sites and community antidrug coalitions can adapt to fit their needs:

Reentry courts also contribute to ex-offender success. Similar to drug courts, they hold ex-offenders accountable for their actions while providing treatment and other services as these individuals reenter society. They also offer more extensive management and treatment beginning at the sentencing phase.

Several federal programs provide funding for the kind of reentry programs that may interest Weed and Seed sites.

Potential Funding Sources
Agency Description
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance With the support of several federal agencies, the Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) (http://www.ojp.gov/BJA/grant/reentry.html) reduces recidivism by helping returning offenders find work and access other critical community services.
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance As part of PRI, the Gang Member Reentry Assistance Project (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/07GangReentrysol.pdf) focuses on developing tools, strategies, and training products that will help law enforcement and corrections agencies address issues faced by returning juvenile and adult gang offenders.
U.S. Department of Labor, Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives The Prisoner Reentry Initiative (http://www.dol.gov/cfbci/Ready4Work.htm) provides mentoring and other transition services for men and women returning from prison. The initiative has received no new funding since 2005, but the site continues to be a source of information and potential opportunities.

[Editor's Note: This article was adapted from The Weed & Seed Toolbox (Strategizer 51), a new publication developed by CCDO in collaboration with Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. This indepth manual, available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ccdo/pub/pdf/strategizer51.pdf, provides Weed and Seed communities and coalitions with the tools to craft better and more sustainable prevention and intervention strategies.]


New Law Enforcement Guide on Reentry
Building an Offender Reentry Program: A Guide for Law Enforcement looks closely at offender reentry programs in which law enforcement agencies participate, highlighting key strategies, components, and results of this participation in offender reentry efforts. Available at http://www.theiacp.org/profassist/ReturningOffenders.htm.

Using Motivational Interviews To Assist Offenders
Motivating Offenders To Change: A Guide for Probation and Parole is a tool for probation and parole professionals, a classroom aid for supervisors and trainers, and a self-study resource for individual officers. This guide promotes motivational interviews as a means for correctional professionals to act as positive influences on the offenders they supervise. Available at http://nicic.org/Downloads/PDF/Library/022253.pdf.

Sex Offender Management
Managing Sex Offenders: Citizens Supporting Law Enforcement highlights sex offender legislation affecting law enforcement, identifies emerging operational challenges for law enforcement, and illustrates how law enforcement agencies are using citizens to enhance and support their sex offender management and enforcement efforts. Available at http://www.theiacp.org/documents/pdfs/Publications/CISOMResourceGuide.pdf.

How Not To Design and Implement a Reentry Program
Habilitation or Harm: Project Greenlight and the Potential Consequences of Correctional Programming explores possible explanations for the surprising results of an NIJ-funded evaluation of Project Greenlight, a short-term, prison-based reentry demonstration program in New York. Available at http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=239956.

American Indian/Alaska Native

A Personal Success at Native American Treatment Camp
By Terryl R. Cadwell, Chief U.S. Probation/Pretrial Services Officer

Fifteen years ago, a probation officer in South Dakota had a dream. In this dream, the U.S. Probation/Pretrial Services Office, District of South Dakota, took the ex-offenders in its program into the Black Hills for a week. That dream evolved into an intensive experiential treatment camp, which completed its 15th annual camp in June.

Every year, 30 participants in the district's reentry program, Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT)/Aftercare, and their significant others spend 8 days in intensive therapy against the backdrop of the sacred Black Hills. Specifically designed by and for Native Americans, this offender treatment experience incorporates psychodrama, equine therapy, and arts and crafts. The program also includes intensive small group therapy, led at Placerville Camp by Roads Inc. of Rapid City, SD.

MRT is a 12- or 16-step recovery program that focuses on moral development and reasoning. By using various treatment methods (including extensive group sessions, self-assessment, assessment of current relationships, awareness of victims, positive reinforcement, self-concept enhancement, and delayed gratification), MRT strives to rehabilitate offenders and reduce their recidivism. Backed by 20 years of research as a treatment method reducing recidivism, the therapy has proved so effective that the South Dakota courts require it as part of the probation process.

Successful reentry is difficult for any felon, but this is especially true in Indian Country. "We have major unemployment and finding a job here takes an act of god," said Monica Lawrence, Probation Officer Assistant. "Every day is a struggle, and that struggle is made more difficult with a felony." But even with all of the roadblocks, people make it.

One of the camp's success stories is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe named Loren Bagola. "Loren's story basically embodies the life and hardships that offenders face when they come out of prison and back home," said Lawrence. In 1989, Loren was sentenced to a 20-year prison term for second-degree murder, having shot and killed his sister's boyfriend in an alcohol-related incident. While in prison, Loren heard stories of regimented halfway house programs and saw former cell-mates return to prison after participating in formal reentry programs. Fearing similar failure, Loren declined placement in such a program and returned directly to Cherry Creek, the rural reservation community where he grew up. He started supervised release in September 2006, living alone in a small dilapidated trailer in an isolated area of the reservation.

Loren's reentry was bound to be especially difficult. He had lost his right arm below the elbow in an industrial accident in prison and reentered society without vocational rehabilitation services or Social Security assistance. As a convicted murderer with one arm, a perpetual scowl, and formidable size, he appeared quite frightening to many who did not know him. While confined, Loren also learned quickly to weigh his words carefully, and he continues to speak cautiously and with reservation. Since his release, he has experienced all the typical impediments faced by Native Americans living in rural impoverished settings—a lack of transportation, practical resources, and prosocial activities.

At his supervised-release orientation, U.S. Probation Officer Jay Shillingstad encouraged Loren to attend treatment camp. In the interim, he was referred immediately to reservation-based aftercare and MRT. From the start, Loren was committed to sobriety and has benefited from the support and social interaction provided by the aftercare and MRT groups. He remains an active participant in both groups, driving 40 miles one-way to attend weekly aftercare sessions. According to Shillingstad and treatment providers, he has been a stabilizing, positive influence in the groups. "It goes back to being resilient in your spirit and having support from somewhere," said Lawrence. "Sometimes just one person, whether it be your officer, family member, or just a friend, can help."

On May 23, just days before Loren was scheduled to arrive at camp, his mother died unexpectedly. When family members gathered to grieve and began drinking heavily before the funeral, Loren wanted to avoid the inevitable chaos and a relapse. Fortunately, he had promised his mother before her death that he would complete treatment camp and maintain a sober lifestyle. "Loren's family did not change while he was in prison," said Lawrence. "There is still drinking and fighting and everything that goes with that, but he is able to rise above it, and continue in a good way, sometimes alone."

He left for camp the day before his mother's funeral, telling his therapy group later that he had said goodbye "in a spiritual way" and wanted to honor her memory by keeping his promise.

Almost immediately after he arrived at camp, spiritual leaders, probation officers, therapists, and group members prayed for Loren and his family in the large group meeting that opens the camp. He was able to grieve and express openly in a safe environment many years of anger—not only for the loss of his mother and for his crime, but also for the loss of so many years of his life in prison.

More than a year after his release from prison, Loren remains committed to completing treatment. He successfully completed camp this year and remains sober. Although he is still dependent on his family and working to get qualified for assistance, Loren is a productive member of his family and community. For instance, he cares for his family's horses in an isolated area of the reservation. Every day is still a struggle, but Loren can point to one fact that perhaps makes the struggle worthwhile: He's keeping his promise to his mother.

For more information, contact:
Jay Shillingstad, U.S. Probation Officer
Monica Lawrence, Probation Officer Assistant

U.S. Department of Justice Responds to Tribal Needs

Late this summer, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) conducted a week of tribal consultation, training, site visits, and related activities in Arizona. At the center of this activity was the 3-day tribal training and technical assistance session in Phoenix. In addition, OJP representatives visited Arizona's White Mountain and San Carlos Apache Reservations.

This tribal training and technical assistance session, which was the fourth such session offered by OJP this year, was aimed at improving law enforcement and criminal justice in Indian Country and ensuring that federally recognized tribes are full partners in these efforts. The three other sessions were held in Palm Springs, CA; Prior Lake, MN; and Shelton, WA. The Phoenix session was OJP's response to tribal leaders' recommendation for improved tribal capacity and infrastructure through training and technical assistance. The session focused on public safety and public health for tribal families and communities and addressed funding opportunities, agency initiatives, and promising practices on substance abuse prevention, law enforcement, tribal justice, and health. Tribal leaders and key policy decisionmakers, tribal administrators, executive directors, finance and grant administration officers, tribal planners, grant writers, and justice and law enforcement personnel participated in the briefing.

Building Capacity Through a Comprehensive Approach
To ensure that participants were provided a comprehensive overview, OJP brought in experts from five federal agencies:

In Phoenix, experts from these federal departments addressed topics such as building capacity for public safety and criminal justice infrastructures; responding to sexual assault, AMBER Alerts, and methamphetamine abuse; and preventing suicide. The Phoenix session also focused on the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. OJP will form an advisory group of tribal leaders to seek input during the efforts to implement the act.

Information Sharing on Federal Grant Application Process
Another important function of these sessions has been to provide information on the fiscal year 2007 grant application solicitations and to serve as a forum for evaluating and improving the application process and planning for the FY 2008 programs and applications. In Phoenix, OJP announced improvements in its grant policies that will begin in fiscal year 2008. These changes are a response to input from tribal leaders at earlier consultations and will make it easier for tribes to apply for OJP grants.

After the session, OJP's Bureau of Justice Statistics convened its 2007 Tribal Crime Data and Information Sharing Conference. This national conference examined the challenges tribes face in collecting reliable data on arrests, victimizations, and other criminal justice-related issues. The U.S. Department of Justice (and OJP in particular) has made it a priority to work with tribes to meet these challenges and collect the needed criminal justice information.

Future Capacity Development Opportunities
In 2008, OJP will continue to hold tribal consultation, training, and technical assistance sessions and reach out to other federal, state, and tribal agencies to try to respond to the various needs of tribal communities, not just those related to criminal justice and public safety.

For more information, please visit:
The U.S. Department of Justice's Tribal Justice and Safety (http://www.tribaljusticeandsafety.gov) Web site's Consultation, Training and Technical Assistance page (http://www.tribaljusticeandsafety.gov/tta.htm).

Resources from past sessions such as executive summaries, presentations, agendas, and more will be found on the One OJP pages of the Fox Valley Technical College Web site at http://www.fvtc.edu/public/content.aspx?ID=1278&PID=123 as they become available.


Research On and For Native Nations
The NNI Research Report highlights recent research on indigenous governance, development, and policy conducted by the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy (NNI) and others. NNI's mission is to assist Native nations in effectively pursuing and ultimately realizing their own political, economic, and community development objectives. The central focus of NNI's programs is Native nation building (http://nni.arizona.edu/whoweare/whatis.php). Available at http://nni.arizona.edu/resources/nnirr.php.

E-mail Resource for Native Communities
CircleUp is the Native community development listserv from Our Native Circle (http://www.ournativecircle.org), the online Native community development resource center. CircleUp, which is available at http://lists.ournativecircle.org/mailman/listinfo/circleup_lists.ournativecircle.org, is dedicated to the exchange and delivery of information about community and economic development for Native communities.