A long and tough effort to combat crime, Vallejo is seeing results

By Kim David Stafford
United States Attorney’s Office, Sacramento, California

January 21, 2011

I remember receiving the call to action from then Lieutenant Reggie Garcia, Vallejo Police Department. His voice was forceful and his intentions deliberate: we need to clean up this City! That afternoon we met down at the Wharf Restaurant to discuss and bring some sense of direction to an application for a federal Weed & Seed grant; weed out the bad element and plant sustainable seeds to improve the quality of life for all Vallejoans.

After a review of all past efforts, the Weed & Seed Steering committee was called to order with much vigor and purpose.
What a great feeling to see so many diverse groups and interests represented.

I would learn this Weed & Seed effort had been in works for over two years., and I clearly remember the horror stories of  Millerville, Country Club Crest, and the many challenges of the downtown area. As a person born and raised in Vallejo I   was particularly troubled by the amount of blight, gang violence, drug trafficking, and prostitution infesting this historical city.

In addition, the police department was losing officers and local task forces were being stretched to the maximum.

Finally, Community Policing, as we know it, was left to the efforts of local block-watch groups throughout the city.

At the helm of Vallejo’s Weed & Seed effort are Tony Pearsall and John Allen. These men have dedicated their life to service and they work very hard to improve the quality of life for all of us.

In the last two years the strategy we designed has produced some measurable results:

  • Through our Safe Havens and the efforts of Fighting Back Partnership staff over 1,200 families annually have received assistance.
  • Drug trafficking activity in Millerville has decreased over 40%.
  • Our neighborhood block-watch force has grown from 10 active sites to over 200.
  • Country Club Crest has received a bonanza of city & federal money ($890,000) to improve the local infrastructure.

Guy Ricca is responsible for the majority of this effort, due to his vigorous response after hearing the plight of the  residents during many Weed & Seed meetings.

The downtown area is finally seeing a reduction in crime, with drug trafficking and prostitution the focus of our efforts there.

I continue to enjoy my work with the Vallejo Weed & Seed effort, and feel humbled by the efforts of many local representatives and concerned citizens. We have a lot left to accomplish. Please do your best: A lot of families are relying on us!

Kim David Stafford
United States Attorney’s Office, Sacramento, California

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