Police in the U.S. now seizing four times more private property than burglars and thieves

(Freedom.news) It’s an alarming trend but it’s only getting worse.

We’re talking about “asset forfeiture,” and it is increasingly being abused federal, state and local authorities as a way to boost funding for departments and agencies.

According to the most recent statistics available, asset forfeiture by U.S. attorneys amounted to $12.6 billion between 1989 and 2010. The growth rate during that period averaged greater than 19 percent annually and in 2010 alone, “the value of assets seized grew by +52.8 percent from 2009 and was six times greater than the total for 1989,” writes economist Martin Armstrong on his blog.

By 2014, he notes, the amount of assets seized ballooned further, to roughly $4.5 billion for the year, making it 35 percent of the entire number of assets collected from 1989 to 2010 in a single year.

However, according to the FBI, the total amount of goods stolen by criminals in 2014 during burglaries was only about $3.9 billion. “This means that the police are now taking more assets than criminals,” Armstrong writes.

Police on the state and local level are just about as proficient at separating assets from owners. A highly critical report on California warns of widespread abuse by police to essentially rob people without having to prove that any crime actually occurred.

Bloomberg News has reported now that Stop-and-Seize authority is turning some police departments into self-funding gangs because they are simply confiscating money – and all under the rules of civil asset forfeiture where cops don’t have to prove that you’ve actually done anything wrong.

Armstrong notes that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Washington DC where police were robbing people for as little as having $100 in their pocket.

The practice of “stop-and-seize also presents a danger to public trust. When the cops go around taking money from innocent people to fund their own departments and salaries, it understandably decreases trust in the government and the legal system,” Bloomberg News reported.

“That is something we can ill-afford at the present time, with trust in the police already at a low ebb over a series of videos of police killings. If they don’t trust the government, people will be less likely to report criminals, and possibly less likely to follow the law themselves,” the news network noted further.

The concept of civil asset forfeiture was originally aimed at busting up large-scale criminal enterprises by robbing them of resources. But the concept has since devolved into legalized theft for police and law enforcement and is less a crime-fighting tool than a funding mechanism, the ACLU argues.

“Police abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws has shaken our nation’s conscience. Civil forfeiture allows police to seize — and then keep or sell — any property they allege is involved in a crime,” the organization says on its web site. “Owners need not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for their cash, cars, or even real estate to be taken away permanently by the government.”

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