The U-S Attorney’s office has declared a neighborhood in Cedar Rapids a “weed and seed” site. Chuck Larson, Senior, the U-S Attorney for Iowa’s northern district, says “Weed and Seed” is a justice-department program that focuses on reducing violent crime, drug-abuse and gang activity in troubled neighborhoods. He says the name explains the concept, as it tries to weed out crime, especially gun-related and violent crime, and to encourage, or “seed” other areas with community activities and programs for youth who’d otherwise lack those opportunities. Larson says typically the “Weed and Seed” program’s been reserved for the nation’s large metropolitan areas. But he says everyone agrees any crime’s too much, particularly if you’re the victim. Des Moines’s taken part in the program before but this is the first time a city in the state’s northern district has qualified. Larson says the new area’s succeeded in getting into the program because agencies cooperated — not because of its crime rate. Larson says the “Weed and Seed” designation will make Cedar Rapids eligible for several federal grants.
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