Law enforcement officials are permitted to seize assets that they have reasonable suspicion to believe have been involved in a crime. When these assets have been seized, the proceeds can be used to fund the police force.
This strategy is justified through the argument that asset forfeiture is used to fight crime and that the proceeds gained help communities to have the funds to address criminal issues further. However, a study by Dr. Brian Kelly of the Institute for Justice claims that these forced investments made to law enforcement have not provided the public with any benefit.
More asset forfeiture funds do not result in more crimes solved
The study found that there was no link between the amount of asset forfeiture funds gained and the number of crimes solved. Therefore, the funds gained from suspicion of criminal activity does not help to solve crimes.
More asset forfeiture activity does not lead to less drug use
A common argument for asset forfeiture is that it helps to get drugs off the streets and financially cripples drug dealers. However, the study shows that this is simply not the case. There was no link made between the amount of drugs seized in an area and a change in the frequency of drug use.
Forfeitures increase as unemployment increases
A link was found between financially-stressed areas and a spike in forfeitures. Therefore, asset forfeiture actually has a detrimental effect on struggling communities.
If you have had assets seized by law enforcement, you will likely be stressed and upset. It is important that you take action so that you have a chance of regaining your assets.