Crime isn’t paying like it used to, at least for burglars. They’d be better served working for the federal government, which took more assets last year than the guys who got away with the family silver.
The blog Armstrong Economics pointed out last month that in 2014, U.S. Attorneys seized more than $4.5 billion of assets. The Institute for Justice cited an even larger figure of more than $5 billion in assets forfeited to the departments of Justice and Treasury.
The loss to burglaries, on the other hand, was about $3.5 billion last year. “The police are now taking more assets than the criminals,” Martin Armstrong wrote, adding this was the first time it has happened.
Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post argued Armstrong wasn’t completely correct in his statement. “The FBI also tracks property losses from larceny and theft, in addition to plain ol’ burglary,” Ingraham wrote. “If you add up all the property stolen in 2014, from burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and other means, you arrive at roughly $12.3 billion, according to the FBI. That’s more than double the federal asset forfeiture haul.”
Ingraham also said the asset forfeiture figures only involve property seized by the feds, and “don’t reflect how much property is seized by state and local police each year. Reliable data for all 50 states is unavailable, but the Institute of Justice found that the total asset forfeiture haul for 14 states topped $250 million in 2013. The grand 50-state total would probably be…