The mission of the Community Capacity Development Office (CCDO) is to work with local communities to design strategies for deterring crime, promoting economic growth, and enhancing quality of life. CCDO, under the leadership of Director Dennis E. Greenhouse, helps communities help themselves, enabling them to develop solutions to public safety problems and to strengthen leadership so they may better implement and sustain those solutions.
The highly successful Weed and Seed initiative is CCDO's flagship strategy. Weed and Seed, a community-based strategy sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, is an innovative, comprehensive, multiagency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and community revitalization, which CCDO oversees.
Weed and Seed is foremost a strategy—rather than a grant program—that aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in designated high-crime neighborhoods throughout the country. The strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in "weeding out" violent criminals and drug abusers, and public agencies and community-based private organizations collaborate to "seed in" much-needed human services, including prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood restoration programs. A community-oriented policing component bridges the weeding and seeding elements.
In most of the more than 300 Weed and Seed sites, joint task forces of law enforcement agencies from all levels of government aim to reduce both crime and fear of crime, with community policing playing a key role. Community policing embraces two concepts—community engagement and problem solving—and fosters a sense of responsibility within the community for solving crime problems and developing cooperative relationships between the police and residents.
CCDO also works on reentry issues, helping state and local agencies access and leverage resources from existing state formula and block grants to support their efforts to integrate returning offenders back into the community. Preventing crime in public housing developments is a major CCDO focus as well. CCDO and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have joined together to create the Public Housing Safety Initiative, which assists communities in the investigation, prosecution, and prevention of violent crimes and drug offenses in public and federally assisted housing, including American Indian housing.
With these and all its efforts, CCDO works to expand public and private partnerships that build and sustain the nation's capacity for creating safe, thriving communities.