Police Civil Asset Forfeitures Exceed The Value Of All Burglaries In 2014

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Martin Armstrong via ArmstrongEconomics.com,

Between 1989 and 2010, U.S. attorneys seized an estimated $12.6 billion in asset forfeiture cases. The growth rate during that time averaged +19.4% annually.

In 2010 alone, the value of assets seized grew by +52.8% from 2009 and was six times greater than the total for 1989.

Then by 2014, that number had ballooned to roughly $4.5 billion for the year, making this 35% of the entire number of assets collected from 1989 to 2010 in a single year.

Now, according to the FBI, the total amount of goods stolen by criminals in 2014 burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.9 billion in property losses. This means that the police are now taking more assets than the criminals.

The police have been violating the laws to confiscate assets all over the country. A scathing report on California warns of pervasive abuse by police to rob the people without proving that any crime occurred. Even Eric Holder came out in January suggesting reform because of the widespread abuse of the civil asset forfeiture laws by police.

Bloomberg News has reported now that Stop-and-Seize authority is turning the Police Into Self-Funding Gangs. They are simply confiscating money all under the abuse of this civil asset forfeiture where they do not have to prove you did anything.

...in the U.S., I see some troubling signs of a shift toward low-end institutions. Bounty hunting was a recent example (now happily going out of style). Another example is the use of private individuals or businesses to collect taxes, a practice known as tax farming. A third has been the extensive use of mercenaries in lieu of U.S. military personnel in Iraq and elsewhere. Practices such as these can save money for the government, but they encourage abuses by reducing oversight.


I’ve recently been reading about an even more worrying example of low-end statecraft: Stop-and-seize. This term refers to a practice, increasingly common since the turn of the century, of police confiscating people’s property without making an arrest or obtaining a warrant. That may not sound legal, but it is! The police simply pull you over and take your money.


A Washington Post investigative report from a year ago explains:


"[A]n aggressive brand of policing [is spreading] that has spurred the seizure of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from motorists and others not charged with crimes...Thousands of people have been forced to fight legal battles that can last more than a year to get their money back.


Behind the rise in seizures is a little-known cottage industry of private police-training firms…


A thriving subculture of road officers…now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network’s chat rooms and sharing “trophy shots” of money and drugs. Some police advocate highway interdiction as a way of raising revenue for cash-strapped municipalities.


“All of our home towns are sitting on a tax-liberating gold mine,” Deputy Ron Hain of Kane County, Ill., wrote in a self-published book under a pseudonym…Hain’s book calls for “turning our police forces into present-day Robin Hoods.”


With government unable to pay police as much as they need or would like, police are confiscating their revenue directly from the populace.


The threat to individual liberty from stop-and-seize is painfully clear. Without requirements for an arrest or for a warrant, the power to confiscate cash is a clear diminution of property rights. Effectively, the police have been given official sanction to commit literal highway robbery without the threat of punishment. People whose property was seized must pay a lot of money and spend a long time in court for even the chance of getting it back, and police who seize money with no good reason don't, apparently, suffer any threat of discipline.


But stop-and-seize also presents a danger to public trust.

Prosecutors are now instructing police on how to confiscate money within the grey area of the law.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Washington DC where police were robbing people for as little as having $100 in their pocket.

This is getting really out of hand and it has indeed converted police into legal criminals or “gangs” as Bloomberg News calls them.

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Sonic the porcupine's picture

Why seperate out crimes committed by police employees from the other criminals?

Latina Lover's picture

I think we already know the answer.  I live in Nicaragua, where the police are called 'thieves in uniforms'.  If I am pulled over, the most I might 'pay' is the equivalent of $10 USD.  I have also driven in our country, and the most I ever had to pay the Musars (garbage) was less than 8 dollars.

Meanwhile, in the good ol' USSA, I could have my wallet emptied and vehicle confiscated to supplement departmental salaries.   Compared to the USSA police,  Nicaraguans  and Russian police are paragons of virtue.

pods's picture

Should read "all OTHER burglaries"

erkme73's picture

"This is getting really out of hand and it has indeed converted police into legal criminals or “gangs” as Bloomberg News calls them."


Sorry, but it isn't civil asset forfeiture  that makes cop a criminal gang.  It's their above-the-law, kill-unarmed-Americans, domestic-terrorist, no-accountability behavior that makes them an organized crime syndicate.  Getting to keep what they beat out of people is just icing.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

If a thief tries to steal something from you, fuck him up.

Recidivism's picture

Why the fuck do you Americans put up with this shit?

It's fucking unbelievable that you all roll over and say "would you like my balls too? Oops, I forgot, I haven't got any".

gladius17's picture
gladius17 (not verified) Recidivism Nov 17, 2015 11:29 PM

Fuck the police

erkme73's picture

I ask myself this very same thing (as an American).  The problem is, you have to be so prinicpled on this that you're willing to die to make a point... A point, which incidentally, the media will quickly use to promote the "war on cops" bullshit.  Because, make no mistake about it, if you so much as put a hair out of place on a cop, the cavelry will be close behind to beat you to death - all in the name of officer safety.

A very recent reminder:


JuliaS's picture

An old USSR joke.

At a routine traffic stop the driver fails to produce a valid license. The cop goes:

- The fine for not having a license is 25 rubles.

- I only have a single 100 ruble bill.

- In that case, the fine for not having a license is 25 rubles, the fine for not having a license is 25 rubles, the fine for not having a license is 25 rubles, the fine for not having a license is 25 rubles.

FreeMoney's picture

How does this square with the 4th amendment?

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

FreeMoney's picture

How does this square with the 5th amendment also?

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

FreeMoney's picture

I am just thinking that if this is so wide spread, there must have been a constitutional challenge over this somewhere...

I have heard that police will ask if you have weapons, drugs, cash in the car or on your person.  Sounds like the policy encourages lying to the police about what you have, giving them the opportunity to say " I thought some thing was fishy, so I decided to search."  then the finding of money...ect, proves the hunch correct and justifies the search and seizure.

As with all the scams going on perpertrated by government, enough joe sixpacks have not yet being subject to this tyranny for a movement to start. 

hedgeless_horseman's picture



...enough joe sixpacks have not yet being subject to this tyranny for a movement to start.

Until such time, and you can affect a change, the alternative to a roadside gunfight with the cops is to just bribe your sherriff and be done with it.

What is the name and cell phone number of my county sheriff?

Bob's picture

Depends upon your mood or the kinda day you've had, perhaps, in Indiana:


Hoosiers don't play. 

besnook's picture

the taking of the assets is considered a civil matter to be argued as a dispute between the confiscated assets and the state. it becomes up to you to prove the assets are not the proceeds of criminal activity. in other words,you have to prove a negative to regain your assets.  it is a technical twist of the law that could be easily corrected by your local legislature. they refuse to do it.

ToSoft4Truth's picture

We have no cohesiveness.

In most cases if you splatter a cop on your front lawn, you’re slipping and falling, critically, at the station.   

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Imagine a reality television show, let's call it, "Cops," that shows hour after hour of sober citizens having their assets seized.  Then you might have a little cohesiveness.  Alas, the cops don't behave on camera as they do in reality.

Earl Slaughter-- Truck Driver.'s picture

Most people wouldn't believe the reality. Most people would refuse to believe the reality.


USA is made up of tens of thousands of jurisdictions, and some of them are bad-- really, really bad. I know, because I worked for one of those.


It's not just simple-graft or extortion, but truly heinous and deviated shit...


No, not all cops are this way. And I would bet that there are more than a few "good" cops who find themselves in prison right now (I got lucky enough to not be found with that kilo of coke that I was hiding in the wheel-well of my squad; but of course, this was after an attempt was made to steal my duty-weapon from the gun-box in the trunk (fingerprints, murder, assigned weapon-- it can be whatever you make of it) so I was on alert/rather vigilant and wary at the time).


Honesty? Doing the right thing? Law-abiding? There's places here in USA where you'll get killed for that shit, especially if you're a cop.

Earl Slaughter-- Truck Driver.'s picture

(FYI-- a surprising number of people fall down the stairs while their hands are cuffed behing their backs. And there are many, distraught with shame or grief, who hang themselves in their cells. Worse: there are only three cells with open bunks... ..."The Thing," "Resident Evil," or "Superman" (it's not just buildings he leaps with a single-bound)... ...your cellmate, your choice.).

swmnguy's picture

Hell, at a certain point this violates the 3rd Amendement, too.  That's the one nobody ever refers to, which bans lodging soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent.  An imaginative attorney, I'd think, could maintain that forcible seizure of assets without charges being filed or any requirement to show said assets were gains from illegal activity, to pay police salaries and otherwise meet budgeted expenses, constitutes a form of involuntary quartering of a standing army of occupation.

Especially since the primary argument I've heard in favor of "Civil Asset Forfeiture" laws being maintained is that police departments budget expenditures based on forecast estimates of how much they will be able to seize, and they depend on that revenue to survive.  Or, at least, that's what they say with a straight face.

gladius17's picture
gladius17 (not verified) swmnguy Nov 17, 2015 11:22 PM

They don't deserve to survive.

MorningWood's picture

It squares just fine with 4A.  What you're missing is not a "people" being charged, it's your property being charged.  You remain secure.


(It BS, you and I know it, but that's the claim.)

FreeMoney's picture

Yeah I gotcha....its a civil process not a criminal one, and its against the property not the person.....but it still amounts to the government taking your property with no warrant, no jurisprudence, no jury, and no compensation.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



With government unable to pay police as much as they need or would like, police are confiscating their revenue directly from the populace.

Welcome to Mexico.

duo's picture

I remember driving through Tijuana every other weekend.  At least there was honor in the TJ cops.  They never took more than $40 (unless you had drugs on you, so I heard), and never took everything you had on you, because one of their cop buddies might be down the road.  This was the mid '80s, BTW.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



It is truly just another tax.

duo's picture

Damn right it is.  All civil forfeitures and re-light camera fines should be tax-deductible.

ACP's picture

In other words, the value of civil forfeitures (oxymoron) should be added to the dollar amount of burglaries, not compared.

Abaco's picture

Robbery is a different crime than burglary.  Burglary is, generally, less violent.

divedivedive's picture

America's version of mordida. 

lehmen_sisters's picture

Only in 'Merica do you need to bury anything of value to prevent big brother from swiping it, fucks sake.

Reichstag Fire Dept.'s picture

What about the theifs on Wall Street??

cougar_w's picture

And on that topic 19% growth looks good for any asset class, is there a CAF ETF I can invest in?

aliki's picture

good thing things arent getting worse

Germany-Netherlands soccer friendly being evacuated, AP reports


DontFollowMyAdviceImaDummy's picture

and they wonder why more cops are being mysteriously assassinated during random shakedowns errr "traffic stops"

vq1's picture

well thats because they have magic disappearing assault rifles!


why does no one believe me!?

cougar_w's picture

I hear recently the Army Reserves also have magical disappearing rifles. Handguns, too.

You might want to check to see if Walmart carries them.

jakesdad's picture

it's all waze's fault!  cops opposition to it is all about "blue lives matter", not "green paper matters", right?

Victor von Doom's picture

Cops. More criminal than the criminals.

Seasmoke's picture

What did we expect to happen when the guys in costumes get paid more than the taxpayers. Get bigger pensions than the taxpayers. Have health benefits paid by the taxpayers. Yeah. Let's given them power of the badge and gun PLUS money too. Now they want more and we are too weak to stop them. What a joke !!

Abaco's picture

Why do you think we are too weak.

Pumpkin's picture

There are only a few ways to take property in Law.  Property arrest=maritime (presumed unpaid tarrifs)  Attachment=un-named property seized to cover a debt to enforce a judgment, and replevin=someone has property that you own and have title to. Any other is THEFT!

besnook's picture

the smartest people in germany left in the thirties. they saw the writing on the wall. the writing on the wall today is written in bold caps with a sound track with audio pegged at ten. the empire is in the desparate phase. it has just declared war on russia and china. if you remain in the usa you will suffer miserably.

Baa baa's picture

And we would just be another damn Gringo, infidel, etc. anywhere else.

NoWayJose's picture

The smartest Germans in the 1930s has a safe and free place to go to. There are no such places today.