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Riverside County’s crime statistics are a draw for growth, said District Attorney Michael Hestrin March 10 in a keynote address at the Mission Inn.

Hestrin was speaking at the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce monthly Good Morning Riverside meeting.

“People want to come here because it’s a safe place to work and live,” he said, describing an attractive crime rate he attributes to partnerships, including the Veterans Court, Drug Court, Mental Health Court and Homeless Court.

The statistics are reported by the California Attorney General, and are available here.

“We enforce the law as it’s written, not as we wish it was written,” he said.

Hestrin said the county is working to raise awareness about a growing fentanyl problem with the slogan, “One pill can kill.”

The DA’s office has filed 10 murder cases against fentanyl dealers. “Fentanyl has changed the nature of the drug trade completely,” he said.

It’s lethal at 2 mg. There are 5,000 mg in one teaspoon of fentanyl, he said. “We are finding pounds and pounds and kilos on the street.”

In 2016 there were two deaths, and every year it’s more than doubled. In 2021 there were more than 500 fentanyl related deaths.

“Almost every time I speak publicly someone comes up to me and says, ‘I lost a loved one,’ ‘I lost a child to fentanyl.’”

There are pills being sold on the streets that are counterfeit medications that are 40% fentanyl, he said. “If it wasn’t prescribed by your doctor, don’t take it.”

He reported that the county is working on crime prevention in general, and that the numbers show efforts are working.

“This county is still growing, still flourishing, still thriving.” In fact he said Riverside County over the past eight years has become the safest place in Southern California.

It doesn’t matter if you’re red or blue, Republican or Democrat, he said. Everybody wants the same thing. “Everybody wants a safe place to raise a family.”


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