Cops, community, profit from criminals
Crime may not pay for criminals, but the province’s Civil Forfeiture Office is doing brisk business.
The Ridge Meadows RCMP and a pair of community groups were the latest recipients of more than $35,000 in grant funding from the CFO.
The local police detachment received a $6,100 grant for the purchase of night vision goggles, tablet computers and a digital camera, while Cythera House and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services received grant funding for programs aimed at preventing violence against women and children.
“This is about making sure crime doesn’t pay,” said justice minister Shirley Bond, who was in Maple Ridge Monday to tour the local detachment. “This year we provided a record [$5.5 million] in grants.”
The provincial civil forfeiture program allows the provincial government to target criminals by confiscating their homes, vehicles, businesses, and other assets believed to be the instruments or proceeds of crime.
Police identify property or assets to be seized and forward the cases to the province’s civil forfeiture office, which then initiates civil court proceedings.
Since the Civil Forfeiture Act was passed in 2006, close to $25 million of property, goods and cashed has been seized by the province.
Since 2009, Ridge Meadows RCMP have been responsible for 14 successful cash forfeitures, as well as one property and a 53-foot-long trailer, for a total value of $177,079.
Since January, Ridge Meadows RCMP have forwarded $605,000 in forfeitures to the CFO, including three properties, and three sums of cash, and the forfeitures are still before the courts.
The majority of local forfeitures involve drug-related crime, with drug houses being targeted and the cash located therein, according to Ridge Meadows RCMP.
The proceeds of the forfeitures fund further police efforts through grant funding, said Bond.
Programs selected for grant funding include gang and crime prevention programs, as well as those aimed at violence against women and children, and human trafficking. Among the local recipients was the Cythera Transition House, which received $5,000 to run its VIP Program, which provides school presentations on domestic violence prevention.
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services received $25,000 for its Ridge Meadows Child Advocacy Centre Pilot Project, which will establish a multidisciplinary team to responding to child victims of physical and sexual abuse.