A report released yesterday questions the value of civil asset forfeiture as a means to reduce crime. While proponents of forfeiture tout its ability to target drug traffickers, the report argues that forfeiture as a practice has not led to reduced drug use. The report also argues that that revenue from forfeitures has only led to a “very small” increase in the number of crimes solved.
In its report, “Fighting Crime or Raising Revenue,” the Institute for Justice looked at ten years of data relating to the federal equitable sharing program. Civil asset forfeiture is a procedure whereby law enforcement agencies may take possession of an individual’s property if it is suspected of being involved in a crime. Equitable sharing is a specific form of asset forfeiture where local or state law enforcement team up with the feds on a case.