Province seizes $5.4 million in criminal property
British Columbia's Civil Forfeiture Program seized $5.4 million worth of property, cars and cash from criminals in 2010, Solicitor General Rich Coleman said Tuesday.
A mansion valued at $1.2 million in Vancouver's upscale Kerrisdale neighbourhood became the most valuable property forfeited to the province after police busted a grow operation there in 2009.
Police seized 959 marijuana plants from the five-bedroom house on West 53rd Avenue. It took about a year to arrange the forfeiture, repair and sell the property. The sale resulted in a $600,000 gain for the program.
Coleman said in a press conference that 2010 was the most successful year for the four-year-old program, a provincial initiative which targets the property of gangs and organized crime.
"More and more people who pursue unlawful activities are losing a lot for doing so, and this is one more way we're making gang life less attractive and organized crime unwelcome in B.C.," said Coleman.
Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said that the program sends a message to criminals that crime doesn't pay.
"Civil forfeiture actions like this help to ensure that criminals do not profit from lucrative and dangerous activities," said Chu. "If you commit a crime in Vancouver and that crime has anything to do with your car, boat or any other asset, we will take it."
Currently, $83 million in crime related property is being processed by the program.
Chu said that organized crime -- and particularly grow-operations -- pose a significant threat to the public, police and fire fighters.
In his campaign, BC Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon has said that 50 per cent of profits from the civil forfeiture program should be returned to municipalities to support local policing.