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VIPD to Take Over Local Crime-Fighting Program

Although federal budget cuts looked to threaten St. Thomas’ Weed and Seed program, a community-based initiative to fight crime and drug use, V.I. Police Department officials announced this week that they would be stepping in and taking over.

The department already runs a similar program on St. Croix. On St. Thomas-St. John, the program was run through the V.I. Housing Authority in the Estate Bovoni and Tutu High-Rise communities. Weed and Seed operates in high-crime neighborhoods and works to reduce drug use, crime and other related activities by working with families in the area. Components of the program include drug education, underage drinking prevention, after-school enrichment, computer literacy and job readiness training.

V.I. Housing Authority press officer Irma Hodge said in a release this week that funding for the program, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, was cut and that the program would be immediately discontinued.

According to Hodge’s release, funding for the program comes in five-year increments, and whatever funding the Housing Authority had left expired in 2010. The U.S. Justice Department closed out and archived the funding for the program in May, according to the release.

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Along with thanking community members that supported the program, Hodge also gave special recognition to Rotary East, which set up the Rainbow Reading Room in Estate Bovoni to provide a “safe haven” and “tremendous resource” for children, which also helped them to “foster a love of reading.”

Later this week, VIPD announced that it was stepping in, and will be operating Weed and Seed in the district at the same Bovoni and Tutu High-Rise locations.

“Both programs have relied heavily on VIPD participation since their inception in 2000, and it is fitting that both are now under police oversight,” Acting Police Commissioner Raymond L. Hyndman said in the Police Department’s release.

So far this year, the program has:

—a 93-percent promotion rate for students after attending the school enrichment program;

—28 participants registered in college or other similar institutions;

—provided work ethic skills to 32 students, aged 14-15, in collaboration with the Department of Labor;

—employed 41 high school/college students at the “Yes We Can” summer enrichment program;

—sponsored and accompanied 15 students to the youth leadership underage drinking conference in Orlando, Fla.; and

—gotten more than 420 youths to take a pledge against alcohol, guns, drugs, gangs and crime.

For more information on the program or how to get involved, contact program manager Jacqueline Freeman at the VIPD Crime Prevention Bureau: (340) 776-1525.

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Although federal budget cuts looked to threaten St. Thomas’ Weed and Seed program, a community-based initiative to fight crime and drug use, V.I. Police Department officials announced this week that they would be stepping in and taking over.

The department already runs a similar program on St. Croix. On St. Thomas-St. John, the program was run through the V.I. Housing Authority in the Estate Bovoni and Tutu High-Rise communities. Weed and Seed operates in high-crime neighborhoods and works to reduce drug use, crime and other related activities by working with families in the area. Components of the program include drug education, underage drinking prevention, after-school enrichment, computer literacy and job readiness training.

V.I. Housing Authority press officer Irma Hodge said in a release this week that funding for the program, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, was cut and that the program would be immediately discontinued.

According to Hodge’s release, funding for the program comes in five-year increments, and whatever funding the Housing Authority had left expired in 2010. The U.S. Justice Department closed out and archived the funding for the program in May, according to the release.

Along with thanking community members that supported the program, Hodge also gave special recognition to Rotary East, which set up the Rainbow Reading Room in Estate Bovoni to provide a “safe haven” and “tremendous resource” for children, which also helped them to “foster a love of reading.”

Later this week, VIPD announced that it was stepping in, and will be operating Weed and Seed in the district at the same Bovoni and Tutu High-Rise locations.

“Both programs have relied heavily on VIPD participation since their inception in 2000, and it is fitting that both are now under police oversight,” Acting Police Commissioner Raymond L. Hyndman said in the Police Department’s release.

So far this year, the program has:

—a 93-percent promotion rate for students after attending the school enrichment program;

—28 participants registered in college or other similar institutions;

—provided work ethic skills to 32 students, aged 14-15, in collaboration with the Department of Labor;

—employed 41 high school/college students at the “Yes We Can” summer enrichment program;

—sponsored and accompanied 15 students to the youth leadership underage drinking conference in Orlando, Fla.; and

—gotten more than 420 youths to take a pledge against alcohol, guns, drugs, gangs and crime.

For more information on the program or how to get involved, contact program manager Jacqueline Freeman at the VIPD Crime Prevention Bureau: (340) 776-1525.