Remember The Sheriff of Nottingham? He lives.
In 2014, federal civil asset forfeiture alone (i.e. not counting state and local police seizures) took more money from Americans than actual burglars.
There’s big money in civil seizure at the state and local level, too. For example, “Between 2004 and 2009, Philadelphia collected some $36 million via civil forfeiture,”mainly from young, black men. Long Island police took in $31 million in a single year. The State of Virginia seized assets and cash worth more than $18 million in 2013 alone. In the same year, Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture profits topped $16 million, and the State of Texas took a whopping $106 million from its citizens.
Indeed, one study found that when the economy is doing poorly and taxes are low, police increase their forfeiture rate to make up the difference.