Fast cars, bundles of cash and drug houses are just some of the things Alberta’s Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) has seized from criminals. And this week, the GoA will take proposals from community organizations on how to use these proceeds of crime to help keep our neighbourhoods safe and support victims.
Today, Justice and Solicitor General is asking groups to apply to the Civil Forfeiture Fund (CFF). When the process is complete, $2.8 million will be allocated to organizations that support crime prevention programs or help vulnerable Albertans. Funding requests can range from $50,000 to $500,000 per project for up to two years.
“We’re proud that the net proceeds of seized property are being used to support crime prevention and Albertans who are victims of crime,” said Carsten Erbe, director of crime prevention and restorative justice. “This funding will help ensure victims are treated with dignity, compassion and courtesy. It is also available for crime prevention projects using innovative, promising and proven practices, and we look forward to receiving and reviewing the applications.”
Since its inception in 2008, the CFO has removed an estimated $25.9 million of illegal assets from our communities.
“Our CFO is an effective tool to stem the rise of illegal activity,” said CFO director Karl Wilberg, who has 27 years’ experience as a lawyer. “Under the Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Act, it allows police agencies across Alberta to target dangerous property, like vehicles used to commit crimes or homes used to grow marijuana. Removing the tools from the hands of the criminals has a direct effect on street level crime.”
In order to seize property, a file must be reviewed not only by police and CFO lawyers, but must also be tested twice in court before a judge. “It is a thorough process,” said Wilberg. “The final step takes place in a separate hearing where we have to prove that the property was used in or derived from illegal activity.”
Early results indicate the forfeiture process is quick and effective, with many cases wrapped up in less than two months. Less than three per cent of cases involved repeat offenders.
To submit a letter of intent for a CFF grant, click here. These letters will be reviewed and successful applicants will be asked to submit full proposals.