"To a hammer, everything resembles a nail. Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams were once used only in emergencies such as riots or robberies where hostages were taken. But today there are more than 50,000 'no-knock raids' a year.
It's not because crime got worse. There is less crime today. Crime peaked around 1990 and is now at a 40-year low. But as politicians keep passing new criminal laws, police find new reasons to deploy their heavy equipment. The Washington Post's Radley Balko points out that they've used SWAT teams to raid such threatening haunts as truck stops with video poker machines, unlicensed barber shops, and a frat house where underage drinking was reported."