oversight

Federal Grants: More Can Be Done to Improve Weed and Seed Program Management

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-07-16.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States General Accounting Office

GAO              Report to the Subcommittee on
                 Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary,
                 and Related Agencies, Committee on
                 Appropriations, U.S. Senate

July 1999
                 FEDERAL GRANTS
                 More Can Be Done to
                 Improve Weed and
                 Seed Program
                 Management




GAO/GGD-99-110
United States General Accounting Office                                            General Government Division
Washington, D.C. 20548




                                    B-281367
                                    July 16, 1999




                                    The Honorable Judd Gregg
                                    Chairman
                                    The Honorable Ernest Hollings
                                    Ranking Minority Member
                                    Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,
                                      State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies
                                    Committee on Appropriations
                                    United States Senate

                                    According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Weed and Seed
                                    Program is an important component of its crime prevention program as
                                    well as a major part of the Clinton Administration’s comprehensive
                                    community revitalization strategy. Weed and Seed is a community-based,
                                    multiagency program that proposes to “weed out” crime from targeted
                                    neighborhoods, then “seed” the site with a variety of programs and
                                    resources to prevent crime from recurring. A central tenet of the program
                                    is for local Weed and Seed sites to develop partnerships with other federal,
                                    state, and local governments and private sector agencies to leverage
                                    federal Weed and Seed grant funds with additional resources from these
                                    partners to promote weeding and seeding activities. These additional
                                    resources are intended to help the sites achieve the goal of becoming self-
                                    sustaining without Weed and Seed grant funds.

                                    This report responds to a requirement contained in the Senate report (105-
                                    235) accompanying the fiscal year 1999 Commerce, Justice, State, the
                                    Judiciary, and Related Agencies’ appropriations bill. This report also
                                    reviews the efficiency and effectiveness of the Weed and Seed Program.
                                    Specifically, this report assesses how (1) the program is managed by DOJ’s
                                    Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS), (2) EOWS monitors local
                                    Weed and Seed sites to ensure that grant requirements are met, (3) EOWS
                                    determines when sites have become self-sustaining, and (4) EOWS and
                                    selected sites are measuring program results.




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                   EOWS has not established an adequate internal control requiring that
Results in Brief                                                                 1
                   significant program management decisions be documented. Without this
                   control, EOWS management has not always fully documented EOWS
                   decisions, such as qualifying new and existing sites for funding. For
                   example, in reviewing 12 of the 70 fiscal year 1999 new site qualification
                   funding decisions, we found that for 5 of these 12 decisions,
                   documentation was insufficient for us to determine how inconsistencies
                   among external consultants and grant monitor recommendations and
                   EOWS management decisions were reconciled. Without this
                   documentation, it was impossible for us to determine the basis and
                   rationale for these decisions. In fiscal year 1999, EOWS made decisions to
                   qualify 164 of the existing 177 sites for continued funding, although in
                   some cases, EOWS grant monitors recommended against additional
                   funding. However, available documentation was insufficient for us to
                   determine the basis and rationale for EOWS’ deciding to qualify these sites
                   for continued funding. For the remaining 13 sites that EOWS decided not
                   to qualify for continued funding, documentation was sufficient to
                   determine the basis and rationale for these decisions.

                   EOWS also did not always ensure that local Weed and Seed sites met
                   critical grant requirements, such as the submission of progress reports.
                   Progress reports are an important tool to help EOWS management and
                   grant monitors determine how sites are meeting program objectives and to
                   assist in making future grant qualification decisions. Almost one-half of the
                   177 sites funded in fiscal year 1998 had not submitted all of the required
                   progress reports. In addition, while EOWS is to conduct monitoring visits
                   of all Weed and Seed sites to determine the sites’ compliance with grant
                   requirements, EOWS grant monitors did not always document the results
                   of these visits. Documentation of these visits is an important tool for
                   EOWS grant monitors to convey to EOWS management officials how well
                   sites are complying with grant requirements and for EOWS to use in
                   making existing site funding qualification decisions.

                   EOWS has not developed criteria to determine when sites have become
                   self-sustaining and when to reduce or withdraw Weed and Seed funds,
                   even though the goal of sites’ becoming self-sustaining is central to the
                   program. While we identified actions that selected sites had taken toward
                   self-sustainment, at the time of our review, no site’s funding had been


                   1
                    The Comptroller General’s guidance on internal controls in the federal government, Standards for
                   Internal Controls in the Federal Government, requires that these systems and all transactions and
                   significant events are to be clearly documented, and that the documentation is to be readily available
                   for examination.




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             reduced or withdrawn as a result of its efforts to become self-sustaining
             during the 9 years of the program’s existence.

             EOWS’ performance indicators generally did not measure program results.
             While our review was in progress, EOWS changed some of its performance
             indicators in an attempt to better measure how well sites were meeting
             program objectives. However, the revised indicators still primarily tracked
             program activity rather than results. For example, EOWS tracked the
             number of people who attended tutorial programs rather than assessing
             program results, such as attendees’ academic improvements. Despite the
             general lack of performance indicators, most local officials with whom we
             spoke commented favorably on the activities funded by the local Weed and
             Seed sites. They believed that a key ingredient to the Weed and Seed
             Program’s success was the commitment of the mayors’ and U.S. Attorneys’
             offices and civic and business leaders.

             We make recommendations in this report to (1) strengthen EOWS’
             management control over qualifying new and existing sites for funding and
             site monitoring, (2) develop criteria to determine when EOWS should
             reduce or withdraw program funding from self-sustaining sites, and (3)
             develop additional performance measures that better track program
             outcomes.

             The Weed and Seed Program is a DOJ discretionary grant program that
Background   provides funding to community grantees to help prevent and control crime
             and improve the quality of life in targeted high-crime neighborhoods
                                2
             across the country. It is a joint federal, state, and local program for
             coordinated law enforcement and neighborhood reinvestment. Program
             funding is to support Weed and Seed grantee neighborhood sites and to
             provide training and technical assistance.

             The Weed and Seed Program has grown dramatically since it began in
                                                    3
             fiscal year 1991 with three pilot sites and a relatively small investment of
             federal resources. For example, between fiscal years 1995 and 1998, the
             number of Weed and Seed sites increased from 36 to 177, while the total
             annual program budget increased (in constant 1998 dollars) from about
             $34 million to $43 million. In addition, during the same time period, the

             2
              EOWS officials said that the Weed and Seed Program is not a typical, discretionary grant program but
             a community-based, multiagency approach or strategy that proposes to weed out crime from targeted
             neighborhoods, then seed the site with a variety of programs and resources to prevent crime from
             recurring. A grantee may have more than one site.
             3
                 The Weed and Seed fiscal year 1991 pilot sites were Kansas City, MO; Omaha, NE; and Trenton, NJ.




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average grant awarded per site decreased (in constant 1998 dollars) from
about $786,000 to $260,000. In fiscal year 1999, with a budget of $49
million, DOJ plans to award grants to about 200 Weed and Seed sites. See
appendix I for a map showing the locations and numbers of Weed and
Seed sites funded in fiscal year 1998.

EOWS is responsible for the national management and administration of
the Weed and Seed Program, including developing policy and providing
federal guidance and oversight. EOWS currently administers the Weed and
Seed Program with a staff of 4 management officials, 12 grant monitors, 7
support staff, 2 detailees, 3 contractors, and 4 interns.

Before interested communities can apply for a Weed and Seed grant, they
must first be approved for official recognition by EOWS. Official
recognition requires the U.S. Attorney in the area where the Weed and
Seed site is to be located to organize a local steering committee. The
steering committee, which can be made up of various federal, state, and
local representatives, including residents, is responsible for local
administration of the program. For official recognition, a site is also
required to develop a management plan, engage residents and other
partners in its activities, and develop a comprehensive strategy to weed
out crime and gang activity and to seed the area with social services,
economic services, and economic revitalization.

The four required elements of the Weed and Seed Program are (1) law
enforcement; (2) community policing; (3) crime and substance prevention,
intervention, and treatment; and (4) neighborhood restoration. According
to EOWS, law enforcement should attempt to eliminate the most violent
offenders by coordinating and integrating the efforts of federal, state, and
local law enforcement agencies in targeted high-crime neighborhoods.
The objective of community policing is to raise the level of citizen and
community involvement in crime prevention and intervention activities.
Crime and substance abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment should
include youth services, school programs, community and social programs,
and support groups. Finally, neighborhood restoration should focus on
distressed neighborhoods through economic and housing development.
Weed and Seed sites fund a variety of law enforcement and community
activities. For example, law enforcement-funded activities ranged from
participation in a multijurisdictional, interagency, antidrug task force to
conducting bike and foot patrols in the community.




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              To assess how EOWS manages the Weed and Seed Program, we reviewed
Scope and     (1) the criteria used to determine which new and existing sites should be
Methodology   qualified for funding and (2) the policies and guidance that EOWS provides
              to applicants. To gather this information, we interviewed officials from
              DOJ and EOWS and reviewed pertinent documents, including guidance set
              forth in the Weed and Seed Program Implementation Manual, official
              recognition and grant applications, and budget reports. In addition, we
              judgmentally selected 12 of 70 fiscal year 1999 official recognition files for
              review. These 12 files included 3 files from each of the 4 categories that
              EOWS used in making their official recognition determinations. Further,
              we reviewed the fiscal year 1999 qualification funding decisions for the 177
              sites that were in existence in fiscal year 1998.

              To assess how EOWS monitors grant use, we reviewed EOWS program
              grant guidance, the EOWS monitoring guide to be used by grant monitors
              when conducting site visits, and the grant files for the five Weed and Seed
              sites that we visited: Atlanta, GA; Dyersburg, TN; Philadelphia, PA; San
              Diego, CA; and Woburn, MA. We judgmentally selected these 5 sites from
              the 177 sites funded in fiscal year 1998 (1) to obtain a mix of geographic
              locations, populations, and lengths of time in existence and (2) on the
              basis of our discussions with EOWS management. These locations were
              not selected to be representative of all Weed and Seed sites. We also
              reviewed selected site visit monitoring reports prepared by grant monitors
              for these sites and quarterly financial status reports and biannual progress
              reports submitted in fiscal year 1998. We interviewed EOWS management
              officials, grant monitors, and coordinators at these five sites regarding
              procedures used for monitoring Weed and Seed sites.

              To assess how EOWS determines when sites have become self-sustaining
              and how EOWS and selected sites are measuring the success of their Weed
              and Seed activities, we performed site visits at the five Weed and Seed
              locations previously cited. We also surveyed, by mail, the 87 sites that had
              been awarded Weed and Seed grants since September 30, 1996. We
              received usable responses from 74 of the 87 sites, or 85 percent.

              Our questionnaire asked Weed and Seed site coordinators to provide
              current information, by January 29, 1999, about their sites, such as (1)
              actions taken to become self-sustaining, (2) partnerships or cooperative
              arrangements established with other entities, and (3) performance
              indicators used to measure the sites’ success. See appendix II for a copy
              of the questionnaire, including responses.




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                   In developing the questionnaire, we asked EOWS management officials to
                   review several drafts of the document. In addition, we pretested the
                   questionnaire by telephone with several Weed and Seed site coordinators.
                   We conducted the survey from January to April, 1999.

                   To determine the performance indicators currently in place and their
                   adequacy in measuring program success, we interviewed officials from
                   EOWS and the five sites that we visited. We also reviewed pertinent
                   documents, including EOWS policies and guidance, grant applications, and
                   data collected pursuant to the Government Performance and Results Act
                                   4
                   of 1993 (GPRA) and from our survey results.

                   We requested comments on a draft of this report from the Attorney
                   General of the United States and the Director of the Executive Office for
                   Weed and Seed. On June 23, 1999, we met with the Deputy Assistant
                   Attorney General and Comptroller, Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and
                   the Director, EOWS, and members of his staff to discuss the draft report.
                   The Assistant Attorney General provided written comments on the draft
                   report on July 1, 1999, which are discussed near the end of this letter and
                   reprinted in appendix IV.

                   We did our audit work between October 1998 and May 1999 in accordance
                   with generally accepted government auditing standards.

                   EOWS does not have an adequate internal control requiring that new and
EOWS’ Internal     existing site qualification for funding decisions always be fully
Control Weakness   documented. Because of this, EOWS cannot ensure that it is making the
Hampers Weed and   best allocation of available funds when it makes these decisions.
Seed Program       The Comptroller General’s guidance on internal controls in the federal
Management         government, Standards for Internal Controls in the Federal Government,
                   requires that these systems and all transactions and significant events are
                   to be clearly documented, and that the documentation is to be readily
                   available for examination. Documentation of transactions or other
                   significant events should be complete and accurate and should facilitate
                   tracing the transaction or event and related information from before it
                   occurs, while it is in process, to after it is completed.




                   4
                    The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, P.L. 103-62, seeks to shift the focus of federal
                   management and decisionmaking away from concentrating on the activities performed to a focus on
                   the results of those activities that are undertaken.




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New Site Funding          EOWS’ new site funding qualification decisions were not always fully
                          documented. EOWS management officials were able to provide us with
Qualification Decisions   some documentation for 12 of the 70 fiscal year 1999 new site funding
Were Not Always           qualification decisions we reviewed. However, for 5 of these 12 decisions
Documented                we identified inconsistencies between the documentation and the
                          decisions. The available documentation was insufficient for us to
                          determine how these inconsistencies were reconciled. Therefore, we
                          could not determine the basis and rationale for these five decisions.

                          The first step in the new site funding qualification process is for EOWS to
                          officially recognize a site’s eligibility to apply for formal involvement in the
                          Weed and Seed Program. According to EOWS management officials, in
                          fiscal year 1999, they created a new official recognition process, which
                          evolved from approving all applicants, to creating a competitive process
                          under which all applicants would not be approved. As part of this new
                          process, EOWS management officials said they were to consider
                          recommendations made by external consultants and EOWS grant
                          monitors. They also were to consider the number of sites already funded
                          within the U.S. Attorney’s district, the extent of support provided by that
                          U.S. Attorney’s office to those sites, and insights obtained from the U.S.
                          Attorneys for applications that met or almost met all official recognition
                          requirements.

                          For fiscal year 1999, EOWS received applications for official recognition
                          from 70 potential sites, and it approved 27 sites. The 27 sites were invited
                          to apply for fiscal year 1999 funding contingent upon the completion of all
                          official recognition requirements.

                          We reviewed 12 of the 70 fiscal year 1999 official recognition files, and, for
                          5 of the site qualification decisions, we identified inconsistencies among
                          the external consultant recommendations, grant monitor
                          recommendations, and EOWS management decisions. The available
                          documentation was insufficient for us to determine how these
                          inconsistencies were reconciled. Therefore, we could not determine the
                          basis and rationale for the decisions. For example, documentation for two
                          of the files showed that the external consultants and EOWS grant monitors
                          had recommended that the sites not be officially recognized, but EOWS
                          management had approved the sites. According to EOWS management
                          officials, these approvals were granted on the basis of additional
                          information provided by the local U.S. Attorneys; however, this additional
                          information was not documented by EOWS.




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Funding Qualification       EOWS did not always fully document how it made its decisions on whether
                                                                                                        5
                            to qualify the 177 existing sites for continued funding and special project
Decisions Were Not Always   funding. Although EOWS officials could provide us with documentation for
Documented                  some of the information considered for existing sites, such as unspent
                            grant award balances and compliance with reporting requirements, this
                            documentation was not sufficient for us to determine the basis and
                            rationale for the decisions to qualify 164 of the 177 existing sites for
                            continued funding. EOWS, however, documented the basis and rationale
                            for the 13 sites that it decided to disqualify for continued funding. In
                            addition, EOWS could not provide us with documentation regarding how it
                            made its special project funding qualification decisions.

                            Since fiscal year 1991, the total annual Weed and Seed Program’s budget
                            has increased (in 1998 constant dollars) from about $589,000 to about $49
                            million. In addition, the number of Weed and Seed Program grant awards
                            has grown dramatically since fiscal year 1995, while the average grant has
                            decreased substantially. For example, in fiscal year 1995, EOWS awarded
                            grants to 36 sites, with an average grant of about $786,000 (in 1998
                            constant dollars). In fiscal year 1998, however, EOWS awarded grants to
                            177 sites, with an average grant award of $260,000. See table 1 for fiscal
                            years 1991-99 data on the Weed and Seed Program, including EOWS
                            budget and average site funding history.




                            5
                             Special projects include Mobile Community Outreach Police Stations (MCOPS), the Kids Safe
                            Program, and Kids House. EOWS describes MCOPS as a way to enhance the community-policing
                            mission of the Weed and Seed Program by using MCOPS as a community meeting place to offer health,
                            welfare, and public safety programs. The Kids Safe Program is administered by DOJ’s Office of
                            Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and attempts to reduce child abuse and neglect and
                            prevent delinquency in communities. EOWS describes Kids House, which is implemented by the Urban
                            Family Institute, as a safe, family-like environment run by volunteers where children can go when they
                            are not in school.




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Table 1: Weed and Seed Site Funding History for Fiscal Years 1991-99 (1998 Constant Dollars)
                                                                            Combined EOWS
                                                                            appropriation and
                                      Appropriation      Asset forfeiture                asset                  Number of        Average site
                                                                         a                                                                  b
Fiscal year                                   budget             budget      forfeiture budget                funded sites          funding
1991                                        $589,120                   $0             $589,120                           3          $196,759
1992                                      12,973,319                    0           12,973,319                          20           800,451
1993                                      14,865,885                    0           14,865,885                          21           680,571
1994                                      24,839,056           8,990,277            33,829,333                          36           804,721
1995                                      24,587,002           9,433,962            34,020,964                          36           786,164
1996                                      29,320,988           9,259,259            38,580,247                          87           349,794
1997                                      28,787,879           9,090,909            37,878,788                        118            232,323
1998                                      33,500,000           9,000,000            42,500,000                        177            260,000
                                                                                                                          c                  c
1999                                      40,000,000           9,000,000            49,000,000                        200            200,000
                                          a
                                           Most sites also received asset forfeiture funds for the payment of various costs incurred by state and
                                          local law enforcement officers participating in joint law enforcement operations with federal agencies.
                                          b
                                           Does not include additional funding allocations, such as EOWS’ salaries and expenses, technical
                                          assistance and training, and travel costs.
                                          c
                                              Number of funded sites and average site funding is estimated.
                                          Source: EOWS data.


                                          For fiscal year 1999, EOWS management officials decided for the first time
                                          not to qualify for funding all existing sites that met grant requirements. In
                                          fiscal year 1999, EOWS decided to disqualify for funding 13 of the 177 sites
                                          that were funded in fiscal year 1998. EOWS officials developed a site
                                          analysis matrix to assist them in deciding which sites to qualify for
                                          funding. This matrix contained information about all 177 sites, such as
                                          unspent grant award balances over $350,000 and each site’s compliance
                                          with DOJ’s reporting requirements. According to EOWS management
                                          officials, in making their final decisions they also considered the
                                          recommendations made by EOWS grant monitors and their own personal
                                          knowledge of the sites. For the 13 sites that were disqualified for funding
                                          in fiscal year 1999, EOWS documented the basis and rationale for these
                                          decisions by sending a letter to each site describing the reasons for its
                                          decision.

                                          However, from our review of the available documentation for the
                                          remaining 164 sites, this documentation was insufficient to determine the
                                          basis and rationale for these qualification decisions. For example, in fiscal
                                          year 1999, one site was qualified for funding even though it had a grant
                                          award balance of over $350,000 and the EOWS grant monitor had
                                          recommended that the site not receive funding. Two other sites were also
                                          qualified for funding for fiscal year 1999 even though they had grant award
                                          balances over $350,000 and had not filed all of the required financial and



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                                 progress reports. Further, the EOWS grant monitor recommended that one
                                 of these sites not receive fiscal 1999 funding due to its delays in spending
                                 its first two awards. According to his report, “the grantee is so far behind
                                 that a year without funding will allow them to catch up and be on track
                                 again.” EOWS management officials told us their decisions to qualify these
                                 sites for funding was based on their personal knowledge of these sites’
                                 activities. However, we were not able to determine the basis and rationale
                                 for these decisions because they were not documented in the information
                                 provided to us by EOWS.

                                 EOWS has also qualified existing sites to receive funding for special
                                 projects. For example, in fiscal year 1998, EOWS qualified sites for funding
                                 of $1,043,334 for the Mobile Community Outreach Police Stations
                                 (MCOPS); $1,000,000 for the Kids Safe Program; and $539,797 for Kids
                                 House. Since written procedures for qualifying sites for special projects
                                 had not been developed and the basis and rationale for these decisions had
                                 not been documented, we could not determine how these decisions were
                                 made. EOWS management officials told us that they made these decisions
                                 on the basis of what they perceived as the needs of particular Weed and
                                 Seed sites after contacting the sites and speaking with EOWS grant
                                 monitors.

                                 See table 2 for a summary of EOWS’ funding allocations for fiscal year
                                 1998.

Table 2: EOWS Fiscal Year 1998
Funding Allocations              Funding                                                                                  Amount
                                 Weed and Seed sites                                                                 $42,668,936
                                 Special projects                                                                      3,926,130
                                 1998 carryover                                                                        2,088,058
                                 Travel expenses                                                                       1,344,963
                                 Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys                                                     966,846
                                 Salaries and expenses                                                                   889,000
                                 Technical assistance and training                                                       874,699
                                 Conferences                                                                             773,213
                                 Congressional earmark                                                                   190,000
                                 Other                                                                                    53,973
                                                                                                                                a
                                 Total                                                                              $53,775,818
                                 a
                                  In addition to the fiscal year 1998 EOWS grant and asset forfeiture budget amount, EOWS’ total
                                 budget included an unobligated balance carryover from fiscal year 1997 of $11,275,818.
                                 Source: EOWS data.




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                      EOWS did not always ensure that local Weed and Seed sites complied with
EOWS Did Not Ensure   critical grant requirements. For example, on the basis of our review of the
That Weed and Seed    site analysis matrix provided to us by EOWS, almost one-half of the 177
Sites Met Grant       existing sites that were funded in fiscal year 1998 had not submitted all of
                      the required progress reports. In addition, EOWS grant monitors did not
Requirements          always document the results of their site visits as required by EOWS
                      guidance.

                      EOWS requires semiannual progress reports describing site activities
                      during the reporting period and the status or accomplishment of program
                      objectives. According to EOWS officials, progress reports are an
                      important tool to help EOWS management officials and grant monitors
                      determine how sites are meeting program objectives and to assist them in
                      making future grant qualification decisions.

                      Our review of the EOWS site analysis matrix showed that as of December
                      1998, 80, or 45 percent, of the 177 sites had not submitted these required
                      progress reports. In addition, EOWS requires the sites to provide program
                      data, such as crime statistics and safe haven program attendance, to assess
                      program results. Our review of the EOWS site analysis matrix showed that
                      as of December 1998, 20, or 11 percent, of the 177 sites had not submitted
                      the required data.

                      Further, according to the EOWS’ monitoring guide, grant monitors are to
                      conduct site visits every 18 months and monitor Weed and Seed sites’
                      compliance with grant requirements through desk reviews, technical
                      assistance, and telephone contacts on a continuing basis. The guide
                      instructs grant monitors to prepare a site visit report. According to EOWS
                      officials, documentation of these visits is an important tool for EOWS
                      grant monitors to convey to EOWS management officials how well sites
                      are complying with grant requirements and EOWS to use in making
                      existing site funding qualification decisions.

                      According to EOWS management officials, the grant monitors have not
                      always documented their site visits due to the large number of sites they
                      are responsible for monitoring—as many as 23 sites per monitor. EOWS
                      management officials said that they hired four additional grant monitors in
                      fiscal year 1999, which should decrease the number of sites that each grant
                      monitor is responsible for monitoring.




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                          An important goal of the Weed and Seed is the self-sustainment of local
EOWS Lacks Criteria       Weed and Seed sites through the leveraging of additional resources from
on Continued Funding      non-EOWS sources. However, EOWS has not developed criteria to
for Sites That Become     determine (1) when sites have become self-sustaining and (2) when to
                          reduce or withdraw Weed and Seed grant funds. Although many grantees
Self-Sustaining           have received Weed and Seed funding for several years, EOWS has not
                          reduced or withdrawn any Weed and Seed grantee’s funds because of
                          progress their site’s had made toward the goal of becoming self-sustaining.
                          Although EOWS does not know what progress sites have made toward
                          self-sustainment, most of the sites we visited and surveyed reported
                          making efforts toward that goal.

EOWS Has Not Determined   While self-sustainment is an important goal of the Weed and Seed
                          Program, EOWS has not developed specific criteria to determine when
When Sites Become Self-   sites have become self-sustaining or determined the progress sites had
Sustaining                made toward achieving this goal. The EOWS Executive Director and
                          EOWS documents stated that a critical goal of the program is for sites to
                          become self-sustaining by leveraging Weed and Seed grant funds with
                          resources from other public and private sources. In 1995, the DOJ
                          Inspector General reported that the Weed and Seed Program was founded
                          on the premise that federal funding would continue for a finite period after
                          which a Weed and Seed site would be self-sustaining.

                          We identified partnerships at each of the five sites we visited that resulted
                          in the leveraging of additional resources for these sites. For example, at
                          one site, the city police department and the city school system each
                          provided a staff member to fill Weed and Seed administrative positions as
                          a part of their other duties so that Weed and Seed funds could be used for
                          other purposes and not spent on funding for administrative positions. At
                          another site, a local business donated computers to be used in computer
                          classes for children.

                          Most of the sites that responded to our survey indicated that they had
                          developed partnerships and arrangements with other groups to move
                          toward the goal of becoming self-sustaining. Of the 74 sites responding to
                          our survey, 72 indicated that they had developed partnerships or
                          cooperative arrangements with other government or nongovernment
                          groups. For example, 59 sites responded that they had developed
                          partnerships with local government agencies, while 54 indicated that they
                                                                                      6
                          had developed such arrangements with nonprofit agencies. Some

                          6
                          These numbers add to more than 76 because respondents were allowed to identify more than 1
                          partnership.




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                          respondents reported establishing partnerships with various groups, such
                          as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a state public
                          health department, city parks and recreation departments, and local
                          businesses.

EOWS Has Not Determined   EOWS does not have criteria for determining whether or the extent to
                          which a site has become self-sustaining and whether funds could be
When to Reduce or         reduced or withdrawn. EOWS management officials said that, to date, no
Withdraw Weed and Seed    site’s funding has been reduced or withdrawn as a result of the site’s
Funds                     efforts to become self-sustaining. In addition, these officials said that they
                          were reluctant to reduce or withdraw funding because of a concern that
                          sites may not continue to implement the Weed and Seed Program.

                          Although EOWS has not developed criteria to reduce or withdraw sites’
                          funding if they were to become self-sustaining, EOWS management
                                                                                                  7
                          officials said that beginning in the Year 2000, they would require sites to
                          reapply for official recognition every 5 years and would encourage them to
                          expand to additional sites. According to EOWS management officials, this
                          new policy, which was made during the course of our review, is intended
                          to determine whether sites still need funding. To obtain official
                          recognition, sites must describe intended partnerships with other federal,
                          state, and local governments and private sector agencies to leverage
                          additional resources. For example, a site would be required to stipulate the
                          level of resources that are committed by its partners. However, without
                          criteria to determine when sites become self-sustaining, EOWS does not
                          have a basis or rationale for determining when to reduce or withdraw sites’
                          funds.

                          EOWS has developed various performance indicators, in an attempt to
EOWS and Weed and         respond to GPRA. GPRA seeks to shift the focus of federal management
Seed Sites’               and decisionmaking away from activities performed, to focusing on results
Performance               or outcomes of activities undertaken. However, the indicators EOWS used
                          to measure the success of the Weed and Seed Program still generally track
Indicators Generally      activities rather than results or outcomes. Weed and Seed sites also used
Did Not Measure           other indicators to measure the results of their individual programs, but
Program Success           these indicators also primarily measured activities, not outcomes. While
                          the performance indicators were generally not sufficient to adequately
                          measure program results, most of the local officials and residents with
                          whom we spoke during our site visits were very satisfied with the activities
                          funded by the local Weed and Seed programs.


                          7
                              Technically, it is the community grantee that reapplies for official recognition, not the site.




                          Page 13                                GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
                           B-281367




Weed and Seed Indicators   In an attempt to measure the results of sites’ weeding efforts, EOWS tracks
                           law enforcement information, such as community-policing activities.
Generally Measure          EOWS requires each site to have a community-policing component to its
Activities, Not Results    program. Community policing involves law enforcement working closely
                           with community residents to develop solutions to violent and drug-related
                           crime and serves as a stimulus for community mobilization. Before 1999,
                           EOWS tracked officer duty time spent in the Weed and Seed area; the
                           percentage of police officer duty hours funded by Weed and Seed; certain
                           serious crimes, such as violent and property crimes; and the number of
                           arrests. Recently, EOWS management officials decided to eliminate the
                           reporting of all of these crimes, except for homicides, because they
                           believed that doing so would improve the accuracy and reliability of the
                           data reported by reducing the amount of data collected by Weed and Seed
                           sites.

                           In addition, EOWS currently requires sites to report whether they have (1)
                           foot patrols, (2) bike patrols, (3) police substations, (4) crime watches, and
                           (5) police participation in community meetings. Although these indicators
                           are useful in tracking the types of weeding activities engaged in at the local
                           sites, they generally do not measure outcomes.

                           To measure the results of seeding activities, EOWS tracks safe haven
                           program attendance. Before 1999, EOWS tracked the total number of
                           people who attended the safe haven program over a 6-month period, but
                           EOWS recently reduced the tracking period to 1 week a year.

                           EOWS management officials said that they made the above changes to
                           better measure the results of both weeding and seeding activities.
                           However, these indicators still generally measure activities rather than
                           results. For example, EOWS tracks the number of people who attended
                           safe havens rather than assessing program results from these safe havens,
                           such as attendees’ academic improvement after completing a tutoring
                           program provided at the safe haven.

                           The responses to our survey also show that the performance measures
                           used by individual sites generally tracked activities, not results. While most
                           sites reported that they have their own measures of success, these
                           measures varied widely, including counting the number of newspaper
                           articles about their Weed and Seed site and recording the number of drug-
                           related cases prosecuted. The three most commonly reported measures of
                           success by survey respondents were crime statistics, the number of
                           participants in Weed and Seed-sponsored activities, and the level of
                           community involvement. Further, 12 sites conducted surveys to gain the



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                              B-281367




                              perspective of community residents, and 4 sites reported on recidivism
                              rates.

                              Using crime statistics and recidivism rates as performance measures could
                              be useful. However, these measures can also present some
                              methodological challenges because it is difficult to draw a direct causal
                              link between crime or recidivism rates and Weed and Seed Program
                              activities. For example, other explanations for crime rate fluctuations,
                              such as economic trends and other law enforcement initiatives, could also
                              be responsible for the observed outcomes. Therefore, if these measures
                              are used, any analysis that attempts to draw the causal link should attempt
                              to control for alternative explanations. From the information provided to
                              us by Weed and Seed sites, it remains unclear whether sites that measure
                              crime and recidivism rates controlled for other factors that may have
                              contributed to changes in these rates.
                                                                                                                    8
                              A recently released study was conducted by Abt Associates Inc. for DOJ
                              on the effectiveness of the Weed and Seed Program. This study involved
                              eight Weed and Seed Program sites and, among other activities, attempted
                              to measure crime trends at each site. Overall, the study indicated mixed
                              results across the sites—there were significant favorable effects in the key
                              outcome measures used in the Abt study for some cities and some time
                              periods, while the results on outcome measures in other cities were not as
                              favorable. The study acknowledged the difficulty in drawing a causal link
                              and noted that the evidence is modest in terms of statistical significance.

Local Participants Reported   Even though the performance indicators were not sufficient to adequately
                              measure program results, most of the local officials with whom we spoke
Satisfaction With the         during our site visits were very satisfied with the activities funded by the
Programs                      local Weed and Seed programs. These officials, such as mayors, city
                              administrators, U.S. attorneys, and high-ranking police officers, noted that
                              the key ingredient to the Weed and Seed programs’ success was the
                              commitment of the mayors’ and U.S. Attorneys’ offices and civic and
                              business leaders.

                              Local sites funded a wide variety of law enforcement and community
                              activities to implement the Weed and Seed strategy. Law enforcement-
                              funded activities ranged from participation in a multijurisdictional,
                              interagency, violent crime task force to community bike and foot patrols.
                              Community-funded activities ranged from sponsoring a Black History

                              8
                               National Evaluation of Weed & Seed, Cross-Site Analysis, Research Report, National Institute of
                              Justice, June 1999.




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                    Month program at a local high school to providing life-skills counseling to
                    at-risk youths. During our visits to selected Weed and Seed sites, we
                    observed many different types of activities. These activities ranged from
                    community police substations or ministations to court-ordered community
                    service for youths. Appendix III describes our site visits and illustrates the
                    many types of activities funded at these sites.

                    Good internal controls are essential to achieving full accountability for the
Conclusions         resources made available for the Weed and Seed Program. However,
                    EOWS lacks an adequate internal control that requires that the basis and
                    rationale for new and existing Weed and Seed site qualification for funding
                    decisions always be fully documented. In addition, EOWS has not always
                    ensured, through its grant monitoring process, that site progress reports—
                    a grant requirement—were submitted or that grant monitors documented
                    their site visits.

                    Through our survey and site visits, we identified some leveraging efforts
                    made by Weed and Seed sites. Many of these efforts appeared to be leading
                    toward the self-sustainment of some Weed and Seed sites. However, while
                    the objective of sites’ becoming self-sustaining is a critical program goal,
                    EOWS had yet to establish criteria for determining when sites should be
                    classified as self-sustaining and when to reduce or withdraw funding.

                    Although current performance measures address a variety of activities
                    taking place at Weed and Seed sites, these measures generally are not
                    adequate to judge program success. While EOWS has made some changes
                    to the way that it measures program effectiveness, these indicators still
                    generally track activities, not program outcomes. We recognize that it is
                    difficult to precisely measure the results of this type of community-based
                    program or strategy. However, better performance indicators as well as
                    other indicators, such as compliance with grant requirements, would help
                    EOWS make more informed program decisions, such as whether to
                    continue funding existing sites.

                    We recommend that the Attorney General of the United States direct the
Recommendations     Director of the Executive Office of Weed and Seed to

                  • develop an adequate internal control to ensure that the basis and rationale
                    for new and existing site qualification for funding decisions are always
                    fully documented;
                  • improve program monitoring to ensure that sites meet the grant
                    requirement of submitting progress reports, and that EOWS site visits are
                    documented;



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                        B-281367




                      • develop criteria for determining when sites are self-sustaining and when
                        to reduce or withdraw program funding; and
                      • develop additional performance measures that track program outcomes.

                        DOJ generally agreed with most of the recommendations presented in the
Agency Comments and     report and offered additional information to explain the status of the
Our Evaluation          current situation, as well as additional actions it plans to take. DOJ also
                        provided technical comments that we have incorporated as appropriate.

                        DOJ agreed with our recommendation for an adequate internal control to
                        ensure that the basis and rationale for new and existing site qualification
                        decisions are always fully documented. They provided some additional
                        information on the internal controls for OJP’s formal grant award
                        processes. For example, they described processes currently in place to
                        ensure that grants are awarded in accordance with Office of Management
                        and Budget and OJP policies. While this information provided a framework
                        for OJP financial controls, it did not specifically relate to our
                        recommendation. Our internal control review focused on EOWS’ decisions
                        for qualifying new and existing sites for funding.

                        DOJ agreed with our recommendation to improve program monitoring,
                        citing that it has a chronic problem of grantees not submitting
                        programmatic progress reports in a timely manner. To address this
                        problem, EOWS is proposing to suspend funding for grantees failing to
                        submit progress reports in a timely manner. Because this new proposal
                        has yet to be implemented by EOWS, we believe our recommendation to
                        ensure that sites meet the grant requirement of submitting timely progress
                        reports is appropriate. In addition, EOWS acknowledged the need to
                        document all monitoring visits. After they received our draft report, they
                        told us they had taken corrective action, and all monitoring reports are
                        now up to date. However, there is no assurance that a process and
                        procedures are in place to ensure that monitoring visits will always be
                        documented, and we continue to believe that our recommendation is
                        needed.

                        DOJ disagreed with our recommendation on self-sustainability, stating that
                        developing criteria is problematic. They also commented that the draft
                        report was incorrect in stating that no site’s funding had been reduced or
                        withdrawn as a result of the site’s efforts to become self-sustaining, and
                        that we used the terms “site” and “grantee” incorrectly. DOJ maintains
                        that, as one neighborhood reached a point where it could sustain its Weed
                        and Seed crime-reduction efforts, funds and resources were shifted by the
                        grantee to other neighborhoods.



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With respect to self-sustainability, there is a distinction to be drawn
between DOJ’s comments and evidence we gathered from interviews with
program officials and our own observations. We acknowledge that some
grantee funds and resources have been shifted to other neighborhoods
within the grantee’s location. However, it is not clear whether this
occurred because the programs became less reliant on Weed and Seed
grants or for other reasons. EOWS management and local program officials
told us that funding had been reduced at some sites to fund activities in
other neighborhoods, but not because the site demonstrated that it
successfully reached self-sustainability. Our limited site visits confirmed
this at the locations we selected for review.

In an attempt to create criteria for achieving self-sustainability, EOWS
adopted a 5-year rule under which it can discontinue qualifying sites for
continued program funding unless the sites expand to an additional
neighborhood site. EOWS expressed the opinion that this rule has created
an expectation of self-sustainability for current sites, since some funds are
to be shifted from the current neighborhood site to the expansion site.

We continue to believe that EOWS needs to develop better criteria for
determining when sites become self-sustaining and when to reduce or
withdraw program funding. Under EOWS’ current 5-year rule, even if
some resources are shifted to an expansion site, there still may be
substantial Weed and Seed investment at the original site and EOWS would
have no way of knowing whether the original site is self-sustaining.
Withdrawing funding after 5 years of federal investment without criteria
could be arbitrary. Some sites may become self-sustaining sooner than 5
years—resulting in a missed opportunity to fund other Weed and Seed
sites—while other sites may need more than 5 years to achieve self-
sustainability. While it may be challenging to develop criteria for
determining when a site becomes self-sustaining, we believe EOWS should
work toward this goal since it is a central and fundamental tenet of the
Weed and Seed Program.

With respect to the distinction between sites and grantees mentioned in
EOWS’ comments, we have modified the report to clarify when we are
referring to a grantee or a site.

DOJ officials agreed with our recommendation to develop performance
measures that track program outcomes. However, they noted that EOWS
already has one performance measure in place—homicides—that it uses to
track program outcomes. Consequently, they believed that our
recommendation should be modified to state that EOWS should develop



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and use additional performance measures. We recognize that EOWS has
adopted this outcome-oriented performance measure and have modified
our recommendation to require EOWS to develop additional measures.

DOJ also expressed concern that we did not include the results of a
recently completed national evaluation of the Weed and Seed Program by
Abt Associates Inc. As noted in Abt’s report, this evaluation involved case
studies of eight Weed and Seed sites. Among other activities, each case
study included two principal sources of empirical data, as follows: (1)
analysis of crime trends at each site and (2) surveys of site residents, one
conducted in 1995 and the other in 1997. Overall, the report indicated
mixed results across the sites—there were significant favorable effects in
key outcome measures for some cities and some time periods, while the
results on outcome measures in other cities were not as favorable. The
report noted that the evidence is modest in terms of statistical
significance.

Finally, DOJ stated that our report did not provide adequate insight into
the findings of our site visits and mail surveys. However, in our results in
brief section, we note the satisfaction that most local officials we spoke
with had with the activities funded by Weed and Seed. These results are
discussed in greater detail in the body of this report. Our survey results, in
their entirety, are included as appendix II. In addition, the details of each
of our five site visits are included in appendix III.

We are sending copies of this report to the Honorable Strom Thurmond,
Chairman, and the Honorable Charles Schumer, Ranking Minority Member,
Senate Subcommittee on Criminal Justice Oversight. We are also sending
copies of this report to the Honorable Harold Rogers, Chairman, and the
Honorable Jos E. Serrano, Ranking Minority Member, House
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary, and Related
Agencies; the Honorable Bill McCollum, Chairman, and the Honorable
Robert C. Scott, Ranking Minority Member, House Subcommittee on
Crime; and the Honorable Janet Reno, Attorney General. We will make
copies available to others upon request.




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The major contributors to this report are acknowledged in appendix V. If
you or your staff have any questions on this report, please call me on
(202) 512-8777.




Richard M. Stana
Associate Director, Administration
 of Justice Issues




Page 20                 GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Page 21   GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Contents



Letter                                                                                             1


Appendix I                                                                                        26

Locations and
Numbers of Weed and
Seed Sites Funded in
Fiscal Year 1998
Appendix II                                                                                       27

U.S. General
Accounting Office
Survey of Weed and
Seed Sites
Appendix III                                                                                      33
                        Atlanta, GA                                                               33
GAO Site Visit          Dyersburg, TN                                                             38
Summaries               Philadelphia, PA                                                          41
                        San Diego, CA                                                             45
                        Woburn, MA                                                                50


Appendix IV                                                                                       54
                        GAO Comments                                                              69
Comments From the
Department of Justice
Appendix V                                                                                        70

GAO Contacts and
Staff
Acknowledgments
Tables                  Table 1: Weed and Seed Site Funding History for Fiscal                     9
                          Years 1991-99 (1998 Constant Dollars)
                        Table 2: EOWS Fiscal Year 1998 Funding Allocations                        10




                        Page 22                 GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Contents




Table III.1: Atlanta Weed and Seed Site’s Funding                         34
  History—FY 1992-99 (1998 Constant Dollars)
Table III.2: Examples of Atlanta Weed and Seed Site’s                     35
  Funded Activities
Table III.3: Examples of Atlanta Weed and Seed Site’s                     36
  Leveraging Efforts
Table III.4: Dyersburg Weed and Seed Site’s Funding                       38
  History—FY 1996-99 (1998 Constant Dollars)
Table III.5: Examples of Dyersburg Weed and Seed Site’s                   39
  Funded Activities
Table III.6: Examples of Dyersburg Weed and Seed Site’s                   40
  Leveraging Efforts
Table III.7: Philadelphia Weed and Seed Site’s Funding                    42
  History—FY 1992-99 (1998 Constant Dollars)
Table III.8: Examples of Philadelphia Weed and Seed                       43
  Site’s Funded Activities
Table III.9: Examples of Philadelphia Weed and Seed                       44
  Site’s Leveraging Efforts
Table III.10: San Diego Weed and Seed Site’s Funding                      46
  History—FY 1992-98 (1998 Constant Dollars)
Table III.11: Examples of San Diego Weed and Seed                         47
  Site’s Funded Activities
Table III.12: Examples of San Diego Weed and Seed Site’s                  48
  Leveraging Efforts
Table III.13: Woburn Weed and Seed Site’s Funding                         50
  History—FY 1996-98 (1998 Constant Dollars)
Table III.14: Examples of Woburn Weed and Seed Site’s                     51
  Funded Activities
Table III.15: Examples of Woburn Weed and Seed Site’s                     52
  Leveraging Efforts




Page 23                 GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Contents




Abbreviations

ATF         Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
CUNAD       Community of United Neighbors Against Drugs
DARE        Drug Awareness and Resistance Education
DEA         Drug Enforcement Administration
DEFY        Drug Education For Youth Mentoring Program
DOJ         Department of Justice
EOWS        Executive Office of Weed and Seed
FBI         Federal Bureau of Investigation
FY          fiscal year
GBI         Georgia Bureau of Investigation
GPRA        Government Performance and Results Act of 1993
HIDTA       High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
HUD         Department of Housing and Urban Development
INS         Immigration and Naturalization Service
MCOPS       Mobile Community Outreach Police Stations
NEMLEC      Northeastern Law Enforcement Council
NPT         Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
OAG         Office of Attorney General
OIG         Office of the Inspector General
OJP         Office of Justice Programs
TEAM        Together Everyone Achieves More
UNAD        United Neighbors Against Drugs
USAO        U.S. Attorney's Office
USN         U.S. Department of the Navy


Page 24                GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Page 25   GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Appendix I

Locations and Numbers of Weed and Seed
Sites Funded in Fiscal Year 1998




              Page 26   GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Appendix II

U.S. General Accounting Office Survey of
Weed and Seed Sites




               Page 27   GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Appendix II
U.S. General Accounting Office Survey of Weed and Seed Sites




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Appendix II
U.S. General Accounting Office Survey of Weed and Seed Sites




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Appendix II
U.S. General Accounting Office Survey of Weed and Seed Sites




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Appendix II
U.S. General Accounting Office Survey of Weed and Seed Sites




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Appendix II
U.S. General Accounting Office Survey of Weed and Seed Sites




Page 32                      GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Appendix III

GAO Site Visit Summaries


               BACKGROUND
Atlanta, GA
               Atlanta, GA, has been a Weed and Seed site since 1992. Atlanta’s target
               area includes two public housing developments, Thomasville Heights and
               Capitol Homes; their immediate surrounding areas; and a third community,
               Mechanicsville. In fiscal year 1998, the total population of the two public
               housing communities was 2,150, mainly African-American females with a
               median age of 23 to 28 years. Ten percent of the total population was on
               felony probation, and an additional 150 adults were under parole
               supervision. Mechanicsville was characterized as single-family homes
               surrounding a public housing community.

               Atlanta’s Weed and Seed goals include to (1) reduce drug sales, drug
               trafficking activities, and drug-related violent crimes; (2) develop conflict
               resolution and prevention resources to reduce the incidence of violence in
               target communities; (3) provide creative options for young people to allow
               them alternatives to drinking and using drugs; (4) increase public safety
               awareness through antivictimization techniques; and (5) strengthen
               relationships with the communities to increase the number of reported
               crimes and assist in developing intelligence information for undercover
               use. This project site is initiating a multiagency program to coordinate the
               delivery of criminal justice and social services to eliminate violent crime,
               drug trafficking, and drug-related crime and to provide a safe environment
               for law-abiding citizens to live, work, and raise a family.

               Since fiscal year 1992, the Atlanta Weed and Seed program has been
               awarded about $3.7 million comprised of grant and asset forfeiture funds.
               As of December 31, 1998, the Atlanta Weed and Seed program had used
               about $3 million. Grant awards ranged from a high of about $754,000 in
               fiscal year 1993 to a low of $175,000 in fiscal year 1998. Asset forfeiture
               funds were awarded in 5 years and ranged from a high of about $268,000 in
               fiscal year 1994 to a low of about $51,000 in fiscal year 1997. See table III.1
               for the funding history of the Atlanta Weed and Seed site.




               Page 33                   GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
                                          Appendix III
                                          GAO Site Visit Summaries




Table III.1: Atlanta Weed and Seed Site’s Funding History—FY 1992-99 (1998 Constant Dollars)
                                                        Award amount                          Amount remaining
                                                                  Asset forfeiture                         Asset forfeiture
Fiscal year                                       Grant funds               funds            Grant funds             funds
1992                                                 $691,094                   $0                    $0                 $0
1993                                                  754,116                    0                     0                  0
1994                                                  590,129             268,240                      0                  0
1995                                                  524,109             262,055                142,573                191
1996                                                  205,761             102,881                205,761            24,615
1997                                                        0              50,505                      0            50,505
1998                                                  175,000              75,000                175,000            75,000
                                                             a                    a                     a                  a
1999
Total                                              $2,940,209            $758,681               $523,334          $150,311
                                          a
                                          Award is pending.
                                          Source: EOWS unaudited data as of December 31, 1998.


                                          ACTIVITIES

                                          Atlanta’s weed effort includes the following five-phase approach to
                                          reaching program goals: (1) community policing as an overall philosophy
                                          and as an institution; (2) intelligence collection and database preparation;
                                          (3) investigation; (4) arrests, seizures, and custody; and (5) incarceration
                                          and prosecution. The seed effort seeks to develop multiagency community
                                          participation in substance abuse prevention and intervention activities.
                                          See table III.2 for examples of the types of activities funded by the Atlanta
                                          Weed and Seed program, listed by program element.




                                          Page 34                       GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
                                            Appendix III
                                            GAO Site Visit Summaries




Table III.2: Examples of Atlanta Weed and Seed Site’s Funded Activities
Program element        Activity                 Partner                       Description
Law enforcement        Identification and       Atlanta’s Weed Task           This joint operation targets street level dealers, gang
                       arrest of drug dealers   Force, Drug Enforcement       members, and sources of supply to disrupt and dismantle
                       and violent criminals,   Administration (DEA), and     drug and violent crime gangs preying on target
                       weapons case             U.S. Attorney’s Office        communities by using intelligence and criminal
                       referrals                                              information from sources within and outside the
                                                                              community. In addition, the Weed task force is to refer
                                                                              cases involving weapons to the U.S. Attorney’s office for
                                                                              consideration of federal prosecution.
Community policing     Drug Education For       U.S. Attorney’s Office,       DEFY is a mentoring program adopted by the
                       Youth (DEFY)             U.S. Department of the        Department of Justice (DOJ) for Weed and Seed in 1996.
                       Mentoring Program        Navy (USN)                    DEFY is to be a comprehensive program that
                                                                              emphasizes the positive development of the mind, body,
                                                                              and spirit.
                       Spring Break—            Fulton County Sheriff’s       The Weed Task force sponsored the first annual Spring
                       Together Everyone        Department, Atlanta           Break TEAM building camp. Students from the target site
                       Achieves More            Police Department, Marta      spent 2 intensive days with sports figures, HUD/OIG
                       (TEAM)                   Police, Federal Bureau of     agents, law enforcement officers, and conflict resolution
                                                Investigation (FBI),          advocates.
                                                U.S. Department of
                                                Housing and Urban
                                                Development/Office of
                                                Inspector General
                                                (HUD/OIG)
Prevention,            Prevention through       Ballethnic Dance              The Ballethnic dance outreach program offers prevention
intervention, and      arts                     Company                       through the arts to students in the elementary and middle
treatment                                                                     schools.

                       Family/Community         Viewpoint, Inc.               Viewpoint, Inc., provides family/community prevention
                       prevention                                             workshops to the target areas. A residential treatment
                       workshops                                              component is offered to 20 residents with 3 months of
                                                                              aftercare as an integral part of the recovery process.
Community              Teens, Crime, and        Americorp, Victim             The three communities completed a 12-week curriculum
revitalization         Community                Witness Assistance            of Teens, Crime, and Community that was conducted by
                       Curriculum               Program                       Americorp students under the guidance of the Victim
                                                                              Witness Assistance Program. Youths then select
                                                                              community projects. For example, Mechanicsville youths
                                                                              identified the UJAMAA Cookie Corporation as their
                                                                              project and have purchased equipment necessary for
                                                                              their business operation.
                                            Source: GAO survey and EOWS data.




                                            Page 35                         GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
                                             Appendix III
                                             GAO Site Visit Summaries




                                             LEVERAGING EFFORTS

                                             Atlanta’s Weed and Seed program officials stated that an important goal
                                             for their program is to leverage additional resources from non-Executive
                                             Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS) sources to become self-sustaining.
                                             During the course of our site visit, we identified several partnerships
                                             established by the Atlanta Weed and Seed program to leverage additional
                                             resources. These cooperative arrangements involved partners such as the
                                             United States Navy and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Table III.3
                                             illustrates examples of leveraging efforts that were identified through our
                                             survey and site visit.


Table III.3: Examples of Atlanta Weed and Seed Site’s Leveraging Efforts
Type of                          Name of
partnership/cooperative          partner/cooperative
              a
arrangement                      arrangement                  Description
Federal government               USN                          USN is to host the DEFY Summer Camp—a youth outreach program
                                                              intended to promote positive life choices in 9-12 year olds through
                                                              use of role models and education.
                                 HUD/OIG                      HUD/OIG agents work with the Weed task force to investigate
                                                              crimes occurring in and around public housing developments and
                                                              assist in the prosecution of individuals involved in criminal activity.
                                                              Agents assist with the execution of warrants involving residents of
                                                              public housing.
State government                 Georgia Bureau of            GBI provides Drug Awareness and Resistance Education (DARE)
                                 Investigation (GBI)          instructor training to Atlanta police officers and other law
                                                              enforcement officers who are dedicated to the Atlanta Weed and
                                                              Seed Project. In addition, it provides manpower support to the
                                                              Atlanta Weed Task Force and share intelligence relating to criminal
                                                              activities in or affecting the Weed and Seed neighborhoods.
Local government                 Fulton County Sheriff’s      Deputy sheriffs provide junior deputy training in Weed and Seed
                                 Department                   neighborhoods as well as at the Safe Haven Summer Program. In
                                                              addition, Fulton County deputies conduct TEAM building camp
                                                              during public school spring break.
Local community                  Viewpoint, Inc.              Viewpoint conducts community/family education and prevention
                                                              workshops for the three Weed and Seed communities. In addition,
                                                              Viewpoint is to provide a maximum of 20 slots for Weed and Seed
                                                              residents identified as needing residential treatment at their
                                                              residential care facilities.
Local community,                 Pyramid Communications       Pyramid Communication Systems (in partnership with Atlanta
University                       Systems, Inc.                University’s Economic Development Center) assists in the
                                                              development and implementation of business plans for the cookie
                                                              collaborative in Mechanicsville, the concession store for Capitol
                                                              Homes, and the employment placement firm in Thomasville Heights.
                                             a
                                             Not all partnerships are shown because program officials told us that a complete list was not
                                             available.
                                             Source: GAO survey and EOWS data.




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SITE’S PERFORMANCE MEASURES

To date, Atlanta has not developed site-specific indicators to measure the
results of its program. However, officials said that under the leadership of
the Mayor’s office, they have developed a detailed weeding strategy that
sets forth overall goals and roles of the community, law enforcement, and
prosecution and have detailed innovative ideas for consideration. Specific
measures of success to be linked to these goals are under consideration.
According to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, a
seeding strategy has not yet been developed.




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                                         BACKGROUND
Dyersburg, TN
                                         Dyersburg, TN, a small rural community in northwest Tennessee with a
                                         population of about 23,000, was officially recognized as a Weed and Seed
                                         site in February 1996 and received its first year grant award in September
                                         1996 (see table III.4). When the program began, two target neighborhoods
                                         were involved; now the site has expanded into four target neighborhoods.
                                         The steering committee used the following criteria to select target
                                         neighborhoods: (1) an increase in drug trafficking and potential for street
                                         gang activity, (2) an increase in crime statistics indicating violence, (3)
                                         juvenile crime rates, (4) a lack of adequate employment opportunities, (5)
                                         truancy and school drop-out rates, and (6) the potential for residents’
                                         involvement in and commitment to the program.

                                         Since fiscal year 1996, the Dyersburg Weed and Seed program was
                                         awarded about $734,000, comprising grant and asset forfeiture fund
                                         awards. As of December 31, 1998, the Dyersburg Weed and Seed program
                                         had used about $563,000. Grant awards ranged from a high of $275,000 in
                                         fiscal year 1998 to a low of about $129,000 in fiscal year 1996. The
                                         Dyersburg Weed and Seed program received one asset forfeiture fund
                                         award in fiscal year 1996 of about $103,000. See table III.4 for the funding
                                         history of the Dyersburg Weed and Seed site.


Table III.4: Dyersburg Weed and Seed Site’s Funding History—FY 1996-99 (1998 Constant Dollars)
                                                     Award amount                          Amount remaining
                                                               Asset forfeiture                          Asset forfeiture
Fiscal year                                  Grant funds                 funds            Grant funds              funds
1996                                            $128,601              $102,881                      $0                 $0
1997                                             227,273                      0                      0                  0
1998                                             275,000                      0                170,600                  0
                                                        a                      a                      a                  a
1999
Total                                           $630,874              $102,881               $170,600                  $0
                                         a
                                          Award is pending.
                                         Source: EOWS unaudited data as of December 31, 1998.


                                         ACTIVITIES

                                         Dyersburg provides a variety of Weed and Seed activities for children,
                                         youth, and adults at its safe haven, which is coordinated through the
                                         Dyersburg City Community Resource Center. Table III.5 shows examples
                                         of the types of activities funded by the Dyersburg Weed and Seed program,
                                         listed by program element.




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Table III.5: Examples of Dyersburg Weed and Seed Site’s Funded Activities
Program element           Activity               Partner                             Description
Law enforcement           Computer-aided         Dyersburg Police                    System to link the communications systems of Dyer
                          dispatch system        Department                          County law enforcement, fire, and ambulance
                                                                                     systems.
                         Juvenile Court                   Dyer County Courts         Expedite juvenile offenders court adjudication. Site
                         Referee                                                     reported that by quicker adjudication it noted a
                                                                                     substantial decrease in the number of juvenile cases.
Community policing       Supplies for citizen             Dyersburg Police           Academy to familiarize its citizens with the police
                         police academy                   Department                 department, its personnel, its goals, and the way it
                         classes                                                     operates.
Prevention,              Summer program                   YMCA                       Day camp for children, including breakfast and lunch,
intervention, and        for boys and girls                                          organized games, arts, songs, and character
treatment                                                                            development.
                         Umoja After-School               Ross United Methodist      This safe haven developed a complementary after-
                         Enrichment Program               Church                     school program designed to assist parents,
                                                                                     churches, and public schools in enhancing the
                                                                                     quality of life for children.
Community                Downtown Dyersburg               The Council for Urban      Community summit to design and implement an
revitalization           Revitalization Summit            Economic Development       economic development strategy and prepare for new
                                                                                     economic opportunities.
                                                Source: GAO survey and EOWS data.


                                                LEVERAGING EFFORTS

                                                Dyersburg Weed and Seed program officials told us an important goal for
                                                their program is to leverage additional resources from non-EOWS sources
                                                to become self-sustaining. During the course of our site visit, we identified
                                                several partnerships established by the Dyersburg Weed and Seed program
                                                to leverage additional resources. These cooperative arrangements involved
                                                partners such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and
                                                local Dyersburg businesses. Table III.6 illustrates examples of leveraging
                                                efforts that were identified through our survey and site visit.




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Table III.6: Examples of Dyersburg Weed and Seed Site’s Leveraging Efforts
Type of                        Name of
partnership/cooperative        partner/cooperative
               a
arrangement                    arrangement                    Description
Federal government             DEA and ATF                    Site reported that participation with these agencies has enabled
                                                              more law enforcement coverage with its small police force and
                                                              resulted in prosecutions and convictions of over 25 major drug
                                                              dealers in northwest Tennessee.
State government               Tennessee Bureau of            Also was a partner in above investigations.
                               Investigations
Local government               Dyersburg School System        Provides a staff member at no cost to help run safe haven program.
                               Dyersburg Police               Provides a staff member at no cost to administer the Weed and
                               Department                     Seed program.
                               Dyersburg Police               Doubled size of bike patrol—now has a two-person bike patrol team
                               Department                     in all four Weed and Seed target areas.
                               Target area resident           Residents rented a house to the City of Dyersburg for 10 years at 1
                                                              dollar per year plus property tax. House is to be used as a mini-
                                                              police precinct in target area.
Private sector                 Local businesses               Provide in-kind donations of food and other supplies to various Weed
                                                              and Seed functions, such as picnics and barbecues.
                                            a
                                            Not all partnerships are shown because program officials told us a complete list was not available.
                                            Source: GAO survey and EOWS data.


                                            SITE’S PERFORMANCE MEASURES

                                            Dyersburg does not use site-specific indicators to measure the results of its
                                            program. However, in response to our survey, the site coordinator
                                            reported that the site used a variety of methods to measure program
                                            success, and that evaluation was a regular and ongoing part of the
                                            program. First, the local steering committee met monthly to review and
                                            the program. Second, the police chief reviewed the program and offered
                                            regular input. Third, the site coordinator and safe haven coordinator
                                            regularly reviewed activities funded or assisted by the Weed and Seed
                                            program to ensure that they were meeting program requirements. While
                                            these methods might prove useful to local officials, they do not measure
                                            outcomes or results.




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                   BACKGROUND
Philadelphia, PA
                   Philadelphia, PA, was officially recognized as one of the original Weed and
                   Seed sites in 1992. The Philadelphia target area is bounded on the east by
                   Front Street, on the west by Fifth Street, on the north by Westmoreland
                   Street, and on the south by Berks Street. In addition, the target area
                                                     th       th
                   encompasses the Philadelphia 25 and 26 police districts. The target area
                   has a higher proportion of the population under 18 than any other area of
                   Philadelphia. The most prevalent illegal drugs of choice have been cocaine
                   and heroin, and the continued focus of the Weed and Seed initiative is
                   toward both major traffickers of illegal drugs as well as those engaged in
                   street sales.

                   The continuing goal of this site is to revitalize the neighborhood and
                   provide the opportunity for the residents in the community to live, work,
                   and raise children in a safe and clean environment. Objectives for this site
                   are to (1) control violent and drug-related crime; (2) enhance public safety
                   and security by mobilizing neighborhood residents; (3) create a healthy
                   and supportive environment by preventing and combating crime, drug use,
                   unemployment, illiteracy, and disease; and (4) revitalize the neighborhood.

                   Since fiscal year 1992, the Philadelphia Weed and Seed program has been
                   awarded about $4 million for the program comprising grant and asset
                   forfeiture fund awards. As of December 31, 1998, the Philadelphia Weed
                   and Seed program had used about $3.6 million. Grant awards ranged from
                   a high of about $1.2 million in fiscal year 1992 to a low of about $177,000 in
                   fiscal year 1997. Asset forfeiture funds were awarded in 5 years and
                   ranged from a high of about $288,000 in fiscal year 1994 to a low of about
                   $103,000 in fiscal year 1996. See table III.7 for the funding history of the
                   Philadelphia Weed and Seed site.




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Table III.7: Philadelphia Weed and Seed Site’s Funding History—FY 1992-99 (1998 Constant Dollars)
                                                       Award amount                           Amount remaining
                                                                   Asset forfeiture                       Asset forfeiture
Fiscal year                                        Grant funds                funds        Grant funds              funds
1992                                                $1,240,135                   $0                  $0                 $0
1993                                                         0                    0                   0                  0
1994                                                   536,480              288,240                   0                  0
1995                                                   524,109              262,055                   0                  0
1996                                                   205,761              102,881                   0                 86
1997                                                   176,768              176,768                                40,813
1998                                                   308,588              170,000             133,588           170,000
                                                              a                    a                   a                  a
1999
Total                                               $2,991,841            $999,944            $133,588           $344,486
                                         a
                                             Award is pending.
                                         Source: EOWS unaudited data as of December 31, 1998.


                                         ACTIVITIES

                                         Philadelphia’s Weed and Seed site activities are focused on strategies to
                                         assist children and youths in becoming productive and law-abiding
                                         citizens; free them from drug and alcohol abuse; establish safe haven
                                                                                                       1
                                         multiservice education centers (four are currently operating) in drug- and
                                         crime-free environments; continue Community Resource Centers that
                                         provide an array of social services; and conduct pr provide antidrug
                                         marches/vigils, neighborhood clean-ups, employment training, community
                                         organizing, youth programs, volunteer recruitment, and information and
                                         referral. Table III.8 shows examples of activities funded by the
                                         Philadelphia Weed and Seed site, listed by program element.




                                         1
                                          The four Philadelphia, PA, safe havens are the Community of United Neighbors Against Drugs
                                         (CUNAD), Fairhill Community Center, Norris Square Neighborhood Project, and United Neighbors
                                         Against Drugs (UNAD). Typical activities in these safe havens include tutoring; summer day camps;
                                         health fairs; nutrition education; prevention through providing substance abuse and child abuse
                                         information; and recreational activities, such as baseball, basketball, and summer olympic games.




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Table III.8: Examples of Philadelphia Weed and Seed Site’s Funded Activities
Program element       Activity               Partner(s)                         Description
Law enforcement       Ongoing                DEA, FBI, ATF, U.S.                These organizations are to conduct collaborative
                      investigations and     Attorney’s Office (USAO),          investigations among law enforcement agencies. In
                      prosecutions           Office of Attorney General         addition, community residents provide information to the
                                             (OAG), Immigration and             police mobile units as well as provide anonymous
                                             Naturalization Service (INS),      information to officers.
                                             and the Philadelphia Police
                                             Department
Community             CUNAD antidrug         Safe Havens, Philadelphia          These organizations participate in and support antidrug
policing              march and rally        Police Department, Schools,        marches.
                                             Neighborhood Organizations,
                                             Health Maintenance
                                             Organizations, and citizen
                                             volunteers
Prevention,           Referral services,     Community groups,                  These groups provide training and workshops relating to
intervention, and     preparing to begin     Alcoholics Anonymous,              drug and alcohol treatment and prevention. Residents
treatment             prevention and         Narcotics Anonymous,               become involved by taking part in the workshops and
                      treatment              Target City Service, and           training provided and accepting referrals for drug
                      workshops in other     Central Intake Unit                rehabilitation programs.
                      Weed and Seed
                      areas
                      Conflict resolution    Schools, Shalom, Safe              Prevention specialists teach conflict resolution in
                      in schools             Havens, AmeriCorps,                schools. Residents become involved by participating in
                                             DARE programs, etc.                the programs offered in the schools for their youths and
                                                                                volunteering in the community and safe havens.
Community             Creating a clean       Community groups, parents,         The goal of this activity is to motivate parents, youths,
revitalization        and attractive         youths, Phila More Beautiful,      schools, and businesses to work together toward a
                      environment            Pennsylvania Army National         clean and viable community. Youth volunteer to
                                             Guard, AmeriCorps,                 participate to take part in area clean ups and attend
                                             and city services                  community service projects to earn community service
                                                                                hours, and residents clean area in front of homes.
                                            Source: GAO survey and EOWS data.


                                            LEVERAGING EFFORTS

                                            Philadelphia’s Weed and Seed Program officials told us an important goal
                                            for their program is to leverage additional resources from non-EOWS
                                            sources to become self-sustaining. During the course of our site visit, we
                                            identified several partnerships established by the Philadelphia Weed and
                                            Seed program to leverage additional resources. These cooperative
                                            arrangements involved partners, such as the Pennsylvania Army National
                                            Guard and Villanova University. Table III.9 illustrates examples of
                                            leveraging efforts that were identified through our survey and site visit.




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Table III.9: Examples of Philadelphia Weed and Seed Site’s Leveraging Efforts
Type of                        Name of
partnership/cooperative        partner/cooperative
               a
arrangement                    arrangement                       Description
Federal government             DOJ’s High Intensity              DOJ’s HIDTA assesses the extent of and change in the
                               Drug Trafficking Area             demographics of drug-using offenders and is to create an
                               (HIDTA) Program                   integrated and collaborative intelligence center to focus on
                                                                 narcotics trade in the area.
State government               Pennsylvania Army                 This partner provides conflict resolution training, camping trips,
                               National Guard                    and demand reduction programs and assists in coordinating the
                                                                 DEFY program.
Public, private, and           Phil-Abundance, Greater           These organizations provide food, drinks, and snacks to safe
nonprofit agencies             Philadelphia Food Bank,           havens and after-school programs at no cost.
                               and Coca-Cola
University                     Swarthmore College, Villanova     Universities provide volunteers to assist with safe haven activities
                               University, Edinboro University,  and other projects, such as smoke detector installations and clean
                               and Eastern College               ups.
City government                Philadelphia Police Department    The department provides police officers to patrol the Weed and
                                                                 Seed area on bikes, conduct special investigations, train block
                                                                 captains, etc.
                                             a
                                             Not all partnerships are shown because program officials told us a complete list was not available.
                                             Source: GAO survey and EOWS data.


                                             SITE’S PERFORMANCE MEASURES

                                             In response to our survey, the site coordinator reported that this site uses
                                             a variety of methods to measure success in achieving its Weed and Seed
                                             program goals and objectives. Methods cited include (1) conducting
                                             pretests and posttests for various programs implemented, (2) using sign-in
                                             sheets for various activities to monitor trends in community involvement,
                                             (3) conducting youth and parent surveys, and (4) using various police
                                             statistics to measure the success of operations.

                                             In addition, Temple University completed an evaluation of the Philadelphia
                                             Weed and Seed project in the fall of 1997, reporting the program’s impact
                                             in the community between 1992 and 1997. Since the completion of this
                                             evaluation, it has been shared with the Attorney General of the United
                                             States and discussed with city officials as well as discussed at Weed and
                                             Seed Steering Committee meetings. According to Philadelphia Weed and
                                             Seed site officials, they have begun to take action as a result of this
                                             evaluation. For example, the Weed and Seed site hosted an 1-day “Getting
                                             Back to the Strategy” session in March 1998. The purpose of this session
                                             was to bring representatives from all Weed and Seed components together
                                             as a group to make the Weed and Seed target area a clean and safe place to
                                             live and raise children.



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                BACKGROUND
San Diego, CA
                San Diego, CA, was officially recognized as a Weed and Seed site in 1992.
                The Weed and Seed target area in San Diego includes three of the six
                neighborhoods that comprise the central sector of the southeast San Diego
                area. San Diego's target area has a total population of 22,137 (8,494 youths
                17 years or younger; 13,643 adults 18 years and older). The total number of
                households is about 5,000, and the ethnic composition is approximately 54
                percent African American, 33 percent Latino, and 13 percent other. The
                median family income is $18,062, and about 39 percent of the total
                population is below poverty level.

                During our visit to the San Diego Weed and Seed site, we and the EOWS
                program monitor who accompanied us identified a number of problems
                affecting the site’s successful implementation of the Weed and Seed
                program. One of the problems we identified was the lack of direct U.S.
                Attorney and resident involvement in the steering committee. EOWS
                requires that the U.S. Attorney be involved with the steering committee
                and that residents be actively involved. On the basis of our observations
                during our site visit and the report from the EOWS program monitor, it
                appeared that the residents in the target area and the city agencies in the
                community did not always agree on how the Weed and Seed program
                should be implemented in San Diego. The site coordinator told us there
                was a lack of communication among the U.S. Attorney’s office, the Mayor’s
                office, and community residents on how Weed and Seed funds should be
                allocated and what activities and services should be provided to the target
                area.

                During the course of our review, EOWS decided not to qualify San Diego
                for fiscal year 1999 funding on the basis of the above observations and
                their own analysis of the San Diego Weed and Seed site. As a result, the
                San Diego City officials and the U.S. Attorney’s office have renewed their
                commitment to the San Diego Weed and Seed site. They agreed to work
                together to restructure the existing Executive Steering Committee and
                provide the site with improved direction to ensure its future success in
                implementing the Weed and Seed program in San Diego.

                Since fiscal year 1992, the San Diego Weed and Seed program has been
                awarded about $3.5 million for the program comprised of grant and asset
                forfeiture funds. As of December 31, 1998, the San Diego Weed and Seed
                program had used about $2.9 million. Grant awards ranged from a high of
                about $691,000 in fiscal year 1992 to a low of about $51,000 in fiscal year
                1997. Asset forfeiture funds were awarded in 3 years and ranged from a



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                                         high of about $268,000 in fiscal year 1994 to a low of about $103,000 fiscal
                                         year 1996. See table III.10 for the funding history of the San Diego Weed
                                         and Seed site.


Table III.10: San Diego Weed and Seed Site’s Funding History—FY 1992-98 (1998 Constant Dollars)
                                                     Award amount                           Amount remaining
                                                                Asset forfeiture                          Asset forfeiture
Fiscal year                                     Grant funds               funds           Grant funds               funds
1992                                               $691,094                   $0                    $0                  $0
1993                                                534,577                    0                     0                   0
1994                                                590,129             268,240                      0                   0
1995                                                524,109             262,055                 63,958             17,820
1996                                                205,761             102,881                101,728            102,881
1997                                                 50,505                    0                50,505                   0
1998                                                225,000                    0               225,000                   0
Total                                            $2,821,175            $633,176              $441,191            $120,701
                                         Note: The San Diego Weed and Seed site was not offered funding for fiscal year 1999.
                                         Source: EOWS unaudited data as of December 31, 1998.


                                         ACTIVITIES

                                         San Diego provides a variety of Weed and Seed activities, such as
                                         Neighborhood Policing Teams, which conduct bike and foot patrols of the
                                         community, and a safe haven, which teaches children about computers.
                                         Table III.11 shows other examples of the types of activities funded by the
                                         San Diego Weed and Seed program, listed by program element.




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Table III.11: Examples of San Diego Weed and Seed Site’s Funded Activities
Program element       Activity           Partner(s)                   Description
Law enforcement       Violent Crimes     San Diego Police             The San Diego Police Department coordinates and works
                      Task Force and     Department, INS, ATF,        with the task forces to arrest and adjudicate violent criminal
                      other local law    FBI, DEA, California         offenders for activities such as gang involvement, drug
                      enforcement task   Department of                trafficking, and car theft in the Weed and Seed target area.
                      forces             Corrections, San Diego
                                         District Attorney, San Diego
                                         County Probation, and San
                                         Diego City Attorney
Community             Neighborhood       San Diego Police             The NPT works with local residents to address community
policing              Policing Teams     Department                   concerns, including drug and gang activity, public
                      (NPT)                                           intoxication, code compliance, properties in need of
                                                                      boarding, securing, and other nuisance and crime-related
                                                                      activities. The NPT uses foot and bike patrols and
                                                                      substations as a means of monitoring the target area.
Prevention,           Safe Haven         Children’s/Youth Choir, Inc. A course for children in grades 6-12 designed to teach them
intervention, and     Computer                                        about the different parts and functions of computers.
treatment             Assembly                                        Children learn how to assemble and operate a computer,
                      Course                                          including installing and using software.
                      Safe Haven Arts    Arts and culture instructor  A course for children ages 9-13 designed to provide them
                      and Culture                                     with art instruction, such as basic drawing techniques, and
                      Course                                          develop art work to be displayed at a “Community Pride
                                                                      Day” in the Weed and Seed target area.
Community             Community pride    Various                      A community pride event intended to bring target area
revitalization        events                                          residents together in a celebration of diversity, unity, and
                                                                      community pride. An example of an event is to hold a
                                                                      festival at one of the target area parks providing
                                                                      entertainment, food, fun and games, music, and other types
                                                                      of entertainment.
                                            Source: GAO survey and EOWS data.


                                            LEVERAGING EFFORTS

                                            An important stated goal for San Diego’s Weed and Seed program is to
                                            leverage additional resources from non-EOWS sources to become self-
                                            sustaining. During the course of our site visit, we identified several
                                            partnerships established by the San Diego Weed and Seed program to
                                            leverage additional resources. These cooperative arrangements involved
                                            partners such as the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego
                                            public schools. Table III.12 illustrates examples of leveraging efforts that
                                            were identified through our survey and site visit.




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Table III.12: Examples of San Diego Weed and Seed Site’s Leveraging Efforts
Type of                      Name of
partnership/cooperative      partner/cooperative
               a
arrangement                  arrangement                          Description
Federal, state, and          A variety of federal, state, and     The San Diego Police Department coordinates as well as
county governments           county law enforcement agencies      participates in task force operations not funded by the Weed and
                                                                  Seed Program.
Federal, state, county,      A variety of federal, state, county, A variety of programs (computer assembly course, arts and
and city governments,        city government, and community       culture class, etc.) and services (youth mentoring, job
and private and nonprofit    and quasi-governmental agencies      assistance) are offered through partnerships with a number of
agencies                                                          agencies at cost or below market cost to the Weed and Seed
                                                                  program.
Local government             San Diego Police Department and      The police department deploys paid staff, volunteers, and patrol
                             City of San Diego                    officers to the target area. The city provides a satellite office, for
                                                                  use by the police department, dedicated to the Weed and Seed
                                                                  target area.
                             City of San Diego                    The San Diego City Parks and Recreation service offers a rent-
                                                                  free facility to the Weed and Seed program for use as a safe
                                                                  haven. In addition, the city offers other administrative services
                                                                  with minimal overhead costs.
City and nonprofit           San Diego public schools, City of    Facilities are provided rent-free for a number of Weed and Seed
sector                       San Diego, and a number of           activities.
                             community agencies
                                              a
                                               Not all partnerships are shown because program officials told us a complete list was not available.
                                              Source: GAO survey and EOWS data.


                                              SITE’S PERFORMANCE MEASURES

                                              In response to our survey, the Weed and Seed site coordinator reported
                                              that Weed and Seed efforts in the San Diego target area were evaluated
                                              through a number of different methods. Evaluations of weeding efforts
                                              included (1) performing a comparative analysis of crime statistics
                                              compiled for the target area; (2) tracking police actions established by
                                              residents, community organizations, and businesses; and (3) maintaining
                                              statistics on community contacts made and events attended by police
                                              officers.

                                              For the seeding efforts, these methods included (1) requiring monthly
                                              activity reports and conducting periodic site visits of all Weed and Seed
                                              programs in the target area; (2) checking programs’ compliance with the
                                              contracted scope(s) of services, which are to be based on Weed and Seed
                                              programs’ goals and objectives; (3) tracking the number of participants in
                                              the programs; (4) evaluating the quality and/or duration of services
                                              provided to participants; and (5) evaluating program participant service
                                              outcomes and their evaluations of the programs.




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While these measures might be useful in better understanding the activities
funded by the San Diego Weed and Seed program, they primarily measure
the level of activities, not program results. Further, while the analysis of
crime statistics appears to be more outcome oriented, it is difficult to
determine a direct link between a reduction in crime rates and Weed and
Seed activities.




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                                         BACKGROUND
Woburn, MA
                                         Woburn, MA, has been officially recognized as a Weed and Seed site since
                                         1996. The target area is made up of the downtown area of Woburn and
                                         was selected due to the high crime rate and drug sales and the high rate of
                                         public housing developments and publicly assisted housing.

                                         During the course of our review, EOWS decided not to qualify Woburn for
                                         fiscal year 1999 funding. According to EOWS, Woburn had not submitted
                                         the required quarterly financial reports and semiannual progress reports
                                         that are required by its grant award. However, Woburn would be eligible
                                         to be qualified for grant funds in fiscal year 2000 as long as the
                                         requirements of its previous awards are met.

                                         The Woburn Weed and Seed program was awarded about $305,000 in grant
                                         fund awards for the program for fiscal years 1996 and 1997. The awards
                                         were about $177,000 in fiscal year 1997 and about $129,000 in fiscal year
                                         1996. As of December 31, 1998, the Woburn Weed and Seed program had
                                         used about $213,000. The Woburn Weed and Seed site was awarded
                                         $50,000 in asset forfeiture funds in fiscal year 1996. However, in fiscal year
                                         1999, EOWS deobligated these funds since the Woburn Weed and Seed site
                                         was unable to use these funds for a law enforcement operation. See table
                                         III.13 for funding history of the Woburn Weed and Seed site.


Table III.13: Woburn Weed and Seed Site’s Funding History—FY 1996-98 (1998 Constant Dollars)
                                                       Award amount                          Amount remaining
                                                                   Asset forfeiture                     Asset forfeiture
Fiscal year                                         Grant funds              funds         Grant funds            funds
                                                                                   a                                    a
1996                                                   $128,601                                     $0
1997                                                    176,768                  $0             92,457                $0
                                                               b                                      b
1998                                                                              0                                    0
Total                                                  $305,369                  $0            $92,457                $0
                                         Note: The Woburn Weed and Seed site was not offered funding for fiscal year 1999.
                                         a
                                          The Woburn Weed and Seed site was awarded $50,000 in asset forfeiture funds. However, in fiscal
                                         year 1999, EOWS deobligated these funds since the Woburn Weed and Seed site was unable to use
                                         these funds for a law enforcement operation.
                                         b
                                         The Woburn Weed and Seed site was offered funding for fiscal year 1998, but the site did not meet
                                         grant application requirements
                                         Source: EOWS unaudited data as of December 31, 1998.




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                                          Appendix III
                                          GAO Site Visit Summaries




                                          ACTIVITIES

                                          Woburn provides a variety of Weed and Seed activities, such as a safe
                                          haven, which includes helping children with homework assignments, and a
                                          Job Links career enhancement program, which provides job readiness
                                          training for adults. Table III.14 shows other examples of the types of
                                          activities funded by the Woburn Weed and Seed program, listed by
                                          program element.


Table III.14: Examples of Woburn Weed and Seed Site’s Funded Activities
Program element        Activity            Partner                         Description
Law enforcement        Drug investigations Woburn Police Department,       A coordinated operation conducted by the Woburn
                                           Northeastern Massachusetts      Police Department, NEMLEC, and DEA. Funds are to
                                           Law Enforcement Council         be used for police overtime.
                                           (NEMLEC) Drug Task
                                           Force, and DEA
Community              Community policing  Woburn Police                   A partnership between community police officers and
policing                                   Department                      residents to reduce crime and fear of crime through
                                                                           enforcement and community problem solving, using
                                                                           problem-oriented policing and empowering residents to
                                                                           create a safe neighborhood for themselves. Funds are
                                                                           to be used for police overtime.
Prevention,          Safe Haven/Kids        North Suburban YMCA            After-school educational/recreational program run in the
intervention, and    Club                                                  housing developments for children ages 5-10. Focus is
treatment                                                                  on developing reading and social interaction skills and
                                                                           alcohol/drug/safety education.
                     Safe Haven/After-      Shamrock Elementary            Assists youths with homework assignments, classroom
                     school program         School                         difficulties, and problems associated with language
                                                                           barriers. Other components include drama, art, and
                                                                           language clubs and English as a Second Language
                                                                           program for parents.
                     Youth Tracking         Woburn Housing Authority,      Assists community professionals and community police
                     Program—               Woburn Police                  officers in tracking high-risk youths ages 12-17. Youth
                     mentor/coordinator     Department                     tracker also tracks youth crime, truancy, and youths in
                                                                           need of assistance and support.
Community            Job Links career       Community Services             Provides résumé writing, career counseling, interview
revitalization       enhancement            Network                        skills, and job readiness training for adults.
                     program
                                          Source: GAO survey and EOWS data.


                                          LEVERAGING EFFORTS

                                          An important stated goal for Woburn’s Weed and Seed program is to
                                          leverage additional resources from non-EOWS sources to become self-
                                          sustaining. During the course of our site visit, we identified several
                                          partnerships established by the Woburn Weed and Seed program to
                                          leverage additional resources. These cooperative arrangements involved



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                                           Appendix III
                                           GAO Site Visit Summaries




                                           partners such as the Woburn Housing Authority and the Boys and Girls
                                           Club. Table III.15 illustrates examples of leveraging efforts identified
                                           through our survey and site visit.


Table III.15: Examples of Woburn Weed and Seed Site’s Leveraging Efforts
Type of                       Name of
partnership/cooperative       partner/cooperative
               a
arrangement                   arrangement                   Description
State government              Commonwealth of               Cooperative work arrangement with the state to conduct an evaluation
                              Massachusetts’ Executive      of Woburn’s Weed and Seed site.
                              Office of Public Safety
State and local               City of Woburn                Using state funds, the city hired a substance abuse counselor to act
governments                                                 as the liaison for drug prevention efforts between the city and other
                                                            entities. This position was created as a direct result of Weed and
                                                            Seed efforts.
Local government              Woburn Housing Authority      Provides assistance in administering the Weed and Seed grant and
                                                            provides space for a variety of Weed and Seed activities.
                              Woburn Police Department      Provides space to house Weed and Seed programs and allows their
                                                            vehicles to be used for Weed and Seed activities at no charge.
Nonprofit sector              Boys and Girls Club and       Provide staff and facilities for Weed and Seed-sponsored activities.
                              YMCA
                                           a
                                            Not all partnerships are shown because program officials told us a complete list was not available.
                                           Source: GAO survey and EOWS data.


                                           SITE’S PERFORMANCE MEASURES

                                           In response to our survey and our site visit, the Weed and Seed site
                                           coordinator reported that the Weed and Seed efforts in the Woburn target
                                           area were evaluated through a number of different methods. The
                                           indicators used to measure the success of law enforcement efforts
                                           included tracking (1) the number and types of crime within the target area,
                                           (2) the number of drug arrests, and (3) the number of drug cases that have
                                           been started in the target area. For the community-policing element, the
                                           indicators used included monitoring the information flow between
                                           Community Oriented Police officers and narcotics officers.

                                           For the prevention, intervention, and treatment element, the indicators
                                           used included tracking the attendance and observing the activities at the
                                           various Weed and Seed programs. As for the neighborhood revitalization
                                           element, the indicators used included tracking the number of jobs that
                                           were found by participants in the Weed and Seed program and calculating
                                           the increased economic activity within the target area as a result of the
                                           Weed and Seed effort.




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Appendix III
GAO Site Visit Summaries




While these measures might be useful in better understanding the activities
funded by the Woburn Weed and Seed program, they primarily measure
the level of activities, not program results. Further, while the analysis of
crime statistics and tracking the number of jobs found by Weed and Seed
program participants appear to be more outcome oriented, it is difficult to
determine a direct link between these indicators Weed and Seed activities.




Page 53                    GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Appendix IV

Comments From the Department of Justice


Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.




                             Page 54   GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
                 Appendix IV
                 Comments From the Department of Justice




See comment 1.




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                 Comments From the Department of Justice




See comment 2.




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Comments From the Department of Justice




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                 Comments From the Department of Justice




See comment 1.




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Comments From the Department of Justice




Page 59                    GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
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See comment 1.




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See comment 3.




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See comment 4.




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                 Comments From the Department of Justice




See comment 4.




See comment 5.




See comment 1.




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                 Comments From the Department of Justice




See comment 6.




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Comments From the Department of Justice




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Page 68                    GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
               Appendix IV
               Comments From the Department of Justice




               The following are GAO’s comments on the Department of Justice letter
               dated July 1, 1999.

               1. DOJ suggested that (1) our report title should be changed to reflect our
GAO Comments   mandate to review the efficiency and effectiveness of the Weed and Seed
               Program and (2) some of our report captions should be modified. We
               believe our report title and captions better convey the message of our
               report, therefore, we made no modifications.

               2. DOJ stated that the Grant Manager’s Memoranda outline the basis and
               rationale for funding decisions. Our review of the Grant Manager’s
               Memoranda showed that they did not provide a basis and rationale for
               funding decisions but rather provided a project overview, including
               purpose, goals and objectives, strategy, and project management. Further,
               EOWS management officials told us the narrative on this form is the same
               for all grantees; therefore, we do not believe these memoranda
               communicate the basis and rationale for qualifying new and existing sites
               for funding.

               3. DOJ stated that we are suggesting that it routinely perform impact
               assessments of program components. We are not suggesting that EOWS
               routinely perform impact assessments. Our statement is meant as an
               example of a possible outcome measure.

               4. DOJ stated that our report did not appropriately highlight positive
               program results. However, in the results in brief section we note that
               selected sites had taken actions toward self-sustainment as well as
               highlight the satisfaction that most local officials had with the activities
               funded by Weed and Seed. These results are discussed in greater detail in
               the body of this report. In addition, our survey results, in their entirety, are
               included in appendix II of the report.

               5. DOJ requested that the final report be revised to reflect the controls that
               for years have been in place to document program management and
               funding decisions. We did not make this change for the reasons discussed
               in the agency comments section of this report.




               Page 69                    GAO/GGD-99-110 Weed and Seed Grant Program Management
Appendix V

GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments


                  Weldon McPhail, (202) 512-8644
GAO Contacts

                  Samuel S. Van Wagner
Acknowledgments
                  Dennise R. Stickley

                  Brian J. Lipman

                  David P. Alexander

                  Michelle A. Sager




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