RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) --Nearly half a million dollars seized in crimes is going to help groups doing good throughout Riverside County.
On Thursday, officials announced the distribution of asset forfeiture money to 36 organizations.
At Raincross Boxing Academy, crime was being dealt a one-two punch. The Riverside facility is dedicated to helping at-risk youth find a positive outlet.
"We call it a refuge. It's a free program for individuals who are 18 years and under," co-founder Mario Dorado said.
Dorado's organization, along with 35 other community-based programs dedicated to combating drugs and gangs, received nearly half a million dollars from Riverside County law enforcement's asset forfeiture special fund program.
"The money that is taken away from drug dealers is used, in fact, to keep children away from drugs and from gangs," said Riverside Chief of Police Sergio Diaz.
The organizations, ranging from the Boys and Girls Club to camps for children of prisoners, were chosen by a panel consisting of the sheriff, police chief, probation officer and district attorney.
Jesse Garcia attended one of those camps.
"...I was able to make a change, and they've given me potential, you know, hope," he said.
The groups can receive anywhere from $250 to $40,000.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said the amount of money reflects an increase in crime.
"Narcotic trafficking, unfortunately, is up in Riverside County. Drugs and guns are pouring into our county," he said.
To fight crime, the law enforcement community said it will take more than being tough, and sometimes you have to hit back with prevention.