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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 5, 1998202/307-0703


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To help communities remove drug users and dealers from their neighborhoods, the Justice Department's Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS), in partnership with the National Guard Bureau, today broadcast a national satellite teleconference to over 130 downlink sites. The broadcast, "Crack Down on Crack Houses," examined the different approaches for stamping out drug activity on private residential property.

"Drug houses bring decay and crime to neighborhoods across the nation," said EOWS Director Stephen Rickman. "Police cannot address this problem alone -- they need the support of the whole community."

Today's broadcast examined how law enforcement can work with neighborhood network centers, code enforcement agents, housing authorities and local prosecutors. For example, communities can use housing code enforcement and abatement laws to hold landlords liable for their tenants' activities. Communities can also destroy abandoned houses, which are often havens of drug activity.

Featured programs included Hammerwest, a neighborhood revitalization program in Indianapolis. Hammerwest is a 12-week hands-on training program for students pursuing a career in maintenance or construction. Participants receive job training and learn life skills while boarding up abandoned houses.

Today's broadcast also spotlighted drug crackdown efforts in three other sites. Through the Project HAPPEN (Health and Police Putting an End to Narcotics) in Akron, Ohio, health inspectors conducted over 1700 police-related home inspections over a five-year period. The San Antonio Fighting Back Project, working with the National Guard, demolished 85 crack houses and 16 gang houses in 1993. Through Operation Crackdown, the National Guard in Kansas City, Kansas, working in partnership with the Weed and Seed program, bulldozed 75 abandoned structures in neighborhoods plagued by drug activity.

The teleconference reached law enforcement officials, juvenile court officials, substance abuse treatment providers, school leaders and U.S. Attorneys and was also broadcast live on the Law Enforcement Television Network.

To learn more about the other Weed and Seed programs and conferences, visit the EOWS web site at Videotapes of the teleconference can be ordered by calling EOWS at 202/616-1152.

Information about other OJP bureaus and program offices is available at Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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