We deserve safety in all its forms. People gathered, talking outdoors in a neighborhood.

In Washington, police are legally authorized to take any property that they determine is linked to a drug-related crime – even before anyone is charged. Because the process is so complex, long, and costly, most people don’t ever get their belongings returned. Each year, police departments in Washington state keep millions of dollars in revenue from seized property, creating a profit incentive for police officers.

Have you or someone you know had property taken by police in Washington state?

We know this practice is not an effective way to prevent harm. Everyone is safer when we all have what we need, and can trust and feel trusted by our neighbors.

“Growing up, I was told never to call the police because they might hurt someone in our household, or me. I never thought of them as a safety net.” -Kent, WA resident

We are fighting for a future where we can get help without being made a suspect because of our race or where we come from. But, the police lobby in Washington state uses racist and xenophobic narratives to spread fear and persuade our lawmakers to spend more money on policing – meaning more tools to oppress and terrorize communities of color – and less on investments for healthy, thriving neighborhoods.

Graph Title "State Spending," Washington Department of Corrections 2019 budget: $1.2 billion, Washington State Patrol 2019 budget: $379 million, TANF spending on direct cash assistance in 2019: $142 million, Total expected WFTC payments in 2023: $250 million
From our 2022 Policy Agenda

What We’re Doing About It

To make the case against unfair property seizure in Washington state and to fight for more investments for healthy thriving neighborhoods, we need to hear from YOU! Have you or someone you know had property taken by police in Washington? Tell us your story.

In the News

Front yard with parked car and basketball hoop
Crosscut WA civil forfeiture law turns minor drug offenses into major losses.
Four police officers standing on sidewalk
The Stranger Cops Can Take Your Stuff and Not Give It Back. We Must Change That.