One of the St. Louis area’s longest-running anti-crime programs will soon be coming to an end, with the filing of a final few forms and the spending of the last few dollars in the accounts of Weed and Seed, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Weed and Seed proponents say it cut crime in St. Louis and built better relations among residents, police, and social service organizations. They cite crime statistics to back up the claims. The federally funded program dating from the 1990s ended last fall, but thanks to extensions, the federal grant money did not run out until three months later.
St. Louis programs operated until mid-February, using corporate seed money that long helped bridge gaps between grants, said Ed Hennessy, director of a nonprofit that administered the program. Rachel Smith of the circuit attorney’s office said, “That funding is irreplaceable,” She noted that it “fostered the real problem-solving partnership between residents and law enforcement” in troubled neighborhoods and “encouraged looking at crime not only from an enforcement model but from a prevention model.” Hennessy said the program focused on “in-depth interventions,” he said, starting with the weeding out of “evil-doers,” then the seeding of activities to make neighborhoods better. Weed and Seed’s problem, Hennessy said, was that it was unique in each community, “from Caribou, Maine to Southside, L.A.” The programs were not focused on a specific type of crime, he said. “The community told you what it wanted to address. Which was kind of the beauty of it.”