OPERATION WEED AND SEED
Operation "Weed and Seed" is a multi-agency strategy sponsored by the United States Department of Justice that "weeds out" violent crime, gang activity, and drug trafficking in high crime neighborhoods, then "seeds" the target area with social programs, neighborhood restoration projects and economic development. Honolulu has three Weed and Seed sites.
The model plan for State criminal prosecutions for offenders arrested in Honolulu's Weed and Seed Sites include these key features:
Weed and Seed Court: A dedicated court provides continuity and consistency.
Fast Tracking: Accelerated intake and charging eliminates the cycle of arrest, delay, and mild or no punishment.
Removal of Offenders from the Site: Defendants are removed from the target site through high bail/pretrial detention, geographic bans, and incarceration.
Intensive Monitoring of Probationers: Probation conditions are aggressively enforced.
Drug Court Expansion: Drug Court accommodates clients from Weed and Seed arrests.
The first site was established in Chinatown-Kalihi-Palama, once a hub of drug dealing, prostitution, public drunkenness and thefts. The United States Attorney's Office spearheaded a crackdown on crime in Site I. Drug sweeps and gambling raids lead to property forfeitures and federal imprisonment.
The Department of the Prosecuting Attorney instituted novel legal procedures so that anyone committing a crime in Site I was immediately arrested and charged then banned from the area, incarcerated, or both. Prosecutors aggressively prosecuted all offenders, including those who committed "quality of life" crimes such as drinking in public, disorderly conduct, criminal littering and other offenses that collectively undermined community safety, livability and economic vitality. The results are phenomenal. Since the program's inception in May 1999, over a thousand offenders were incarcerated or geographically restricted from Site I, and crime there has dropped fifty percent. The impact can best be seen in the heart of Chinatown, where Weed and Seed converges with the crime prevention Video Monitoring Program and private and public beautification and restoration projects.
The successes of Weed and Seed in Site I prompted the opening of a second site in Waipahu in September 2001 and a third site in EWA/EWA BEACH in September 2002. Given the sites' high juvenile crime rate, "weeding" efforts focus on truancy and juvenile crime prevention, intervention and outreach.
In February 2004, Weed and Seed expanded Site I westward into Kalihi Valley and eastward to the Convention Center. Community Prosecutors continue to collaborate on a variety of weeding strategies.
The United States Department of Justice Executive Office of Weed and Seed awarded the Coordination Honor Award to the lead criminal justice agencies, including the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, for the coordination of state criminal prosecutions in Weed and Seed Site I. The award recognized numerous agencies within the criminal justice system for their collaboration in establishing a dedicated Weed and Seed Court (a "first in nation") at the Honolulu District Court of the First Circuit.
Warrant sweeps are conducted to prevent recidivism in all of the Weed and Seed sites as well as the surrounding communities. Police conducted warrant sweeps periodically throughout the year.
Nuuanu Merchants Association
In 2004, business and property owners along this unique Chinatown avenue began the process of establishing a nonprofit, the Nuuanu Merchants Association, aimed at business improvement and crime prevention. A major concern voiced by the NMA is that drug dealing persists in this part of the Chinatown Weed and Seed Site. In June 2004, Community Prosecutor CECELIA CHANG joined NMA members, residents, and HPD police officers in testifying against the liquor licensing for an establishment notorious for drug dealing. This establishment is no longer a problem in Chinatown.
In 2003, Community Prosecutor TANA KEKINA-CABANIERO coordinated truancy sweeps to reduce truancy and related juvenile crime. A marked decline in juvenile property crime in the targeted areas prompted requests for more sweeps in 2004. Ms. KEKINA-CABANIERO continues to join forces with HPD Weed and Seed officers and Juvenile Services Division, State of Hawaii Department of Education, and the State of Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, to conduct truancy sweeps. The truancy sweeps were "a first" in this State and received national recognition from the United States Department of Justice in 2005.
Community Policing Partners - (Front, from left) Shari Souza, Fabian Mata, Gale Braceros, Wendy Atabay, Cecelia Chang, Maile Kanemaru, Tana Kekina-Cabaniero (Back, from left) Teisa Etuati, Mark Mitchell, Keith Takamiya, Gary P. Keawe'aiko, Derek Dela Cruz, David Foumai, Brant Pia, Art Takamiya, John Kauwenaole, Thomas Taflinger, Spencer Andersen, Shellie Paiva, Fumikazu Muraoka, Richard Fikani, Mark Ramos
(Top left) Sean Spriggs, Frances Rivero, Eileen Lynn, Marcela Cabael-Sueoka, Maile Kanemaru, Gale Braceros, Debbie Luning, Mary Jean Castillo (Kneeling down left) Cal Sueoka, Cecelia Chang, Officer Art Takamiya, Sgt. John Kauwenaole, Officer Sonny Oliveros, Officer Spencer Andersen
2007 McGruff's Crime Prevention Awards of Excellence
Ewa Weed and Seed - Community Volunteer Eileen Lynn and Ewa Site Coordinator Gale Braceros
Weed and Seed Award (Truancy Sweeps, 2005)
U.S. Attorney Edward H. Kubo, Jr. recognizes Deputy Prosecutor Tana Kekina-Cabaniero.
2009 Weed and Seed National Night Out
U.S. Attorney Edward H. Kubo, Jr. and Deputy Prosecutor Franklin D. ("Don") Pacarro, Jr.
U.S. Attorney Steven Alm recognizes the Honolulu Prosecutor's Office - Left: Sheila Nitta, Donna Kaneshiro, June Koja, Lawrence Grean, Maile Kanemaru, Steven Alm, Peter Carlisle, Janice Naito, Cecelia Chang, Jan Bullock