It Is Not Armed Robbery When Government Takes People's Stuff, It Is Civil Asset Forfeiture



Abstract. Civil asset forfeiture allows the police to profit from crime instead of the criminal by seizing a person’s belongings that were used in illegal activity. The police profit from crime by keeping a percentage of the proceeds they seize. This ends up creating some perverse incentives, such as having more police resources go to seize people’s assets instead of fighting crime. Shifting police efforts away from combating hard crime into fighting so-called “victimless crimes” causes an increase in hard crimes as criminals substitute from soft crimes, such as selling drugs, into hard crimes where the chances of being caught are now lower.

Keywords. Theft, Government, Competition.

JEL. H0, H10.


Government; Competition.

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