Riverside Police Department

Investigations FAQ

Crimes Against Persons

Homicides and Assaults

Although each investigation is unique, the process generally begins immediately after a police report is filed with the Riverside Police Department. The investigation will be routed to the appropriate investigative unit depending on the type of crime and then assigned to a detective in that unit. If there is enough information in the initial report to prosecute, the detective will simply forward the case to the District Attorney's Office. If there is not enough information in the report to prosecute, the detective will conduct a more thorough investigation and then forward it to the District Attorney’s Office. Once the District Attorney’s Office receives the updated investigation, charges are either filed or the case is sent back for further investigation. If the case is sent back, the assigned detective must gather the additional evidence requested by the District Attorney and resubmit the case.
Due to legal issues, it is not always possible to arrest the suspect immediately following the crime or the filing of the police report. The arresting officer is legally bound to submit all pertinent information relating to the charges within a 48-hour period of the suspect’s arrest. Therefore, the suspect must be released if follow-up is necessary to warrant a conviction and the process cannot be completed in the required 48-hour time frame. For this reason, it is often more prudent to delay an arrest and take the time to build a solid case.
Unfortunately, in spite of the best efforts by the detective(s) investigating the case, some cases simply do not have enough evidence for the police department to submit it for filing or for the District Attorney to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt in court. Therefore, some cases are not sent to the District Attorney with a request for filing and others may be rejected by the District Attorney.


Robbery Unit

Robberies and Weapons Violations

When someone demands your property, it is best to cooperate with the suspect. Try to remain calm as you slowly surrender whatever they are demanding. Avoid eye contact with the suspect. Your safety is paramount in this situation and staring may antagonize the suspect. If possible, try to memorize specific details of the suspect.
We consider the crime of robbery to be a very serious matter. Every effort will be taken to apprehend the suspect. It is critical for you as the victim or witness to give the police officers as detailed a description as possible. If you recall additional facts after the initial interview, please contact the General Investigations Bureau at (951) 353-7100 and ask for the Robbery Supervisor. They will ensure you are put in touch with the assigned investigator. We view you as an integral part of the team to prosecute these offenders.
Contact all of your credit card companies immediately and have your credit cards cancelled. To limit the illegal use of your information, contact these companies as soon as possible. These credit-reporting companies will “flag” your information to track any transactions after the theft date.




On the Web


(800) 525-6285




(800) 397-3742



Trans Union

(800) 680-7289



Social Security

(800) 269-0271




Graffiti Unit

Graffiti Investigation

Tagging or graffiti is the unauthorized writing or drawing on a public or private surface. The unauthorized writing or drawing may consist of inscriptions, slogans, and/or drawings that are created by scratches, scribbles, etching, stickers, or paint.
People tag for various reasons; examples include vandals rebelling against authority, peer pressure from friends, false belief that graffiti is art, people seeking recognition or groups identifying their territory.
There are several ways to remove graffiti. The best method for removal is determined by the amount of graffiti, the location of the graffiti, and the type of surface vandalized. Methods include, but are not limited to, a “paint-out,” which is simply to paint over the graffiti with a matching surface color; the use of solvents or chemicals; and pressure washing the graffiti surface. It is best to paint or remove the graffiti as soon as possible. Unfortunately, glass etching cannot be removed and the glass will have to be replaced at the property owner’s cost.

The most effective way to prevent graffiti is to remove it promptly. While this may be difficult, studies show that removal within 24 to 48 hours results in a nearly zero rate of reoccurrence. Consistent enforcement of local ordinances with strict penalties for graffiti vandalism is also effective. If the “tagger” is caught, they will be charged with the cleanup costs for their crime. In Riverside, residents can report graffiti by dialing 3-1-1 from a local phone.
If it is in City of Riverside, call the 311 Center at (951) 826-5311 or via the web at crmweb.riversideca.gov and report the information to the dispatch center. You may also download the free 311 Riverside app onto your smart phone and report the crime. When using the 311 app, simply open up the application, take a photo of the graffiti, follow the prompts, and send the photo. The phone GPS will record the location and send the information to Public Works for cleanup. If the graffiti is on private property, it is the responsibility of the property owner. In those cases, the property owner needs to remove it as soon as possible after taking a photo for evidence and calling (951) 354-2007 to make a police report.
They are arrested and must appear in court. When they are found guilty they can receive as much as three years custody time for a felony (over $400 worth of damages) and up to a year custody time for a misdemeanor (under $400 worth of damages). They can also be placed on probation with terms allowing search of their person, property, residences at any time by law enforcement. They can also be responsible for court restitution costs as well as the costs of eradication of the graffiti vandalism they committed. In the case of juveniles, the parents or guardians can be responsible for the above mentioned costs. Taggers can also have their driving privileges suspended or eligibility to obtain a driver license can be delayed as a result of tagging convictions. Juveniles can also be committed to a Sheriff's Work Program including a six month to a year tour in a boot camp program.
Taggers are using graffiti for fame and notoriety. Their objective is to get their crew (group) name and or their individual moniker up on buildings, signs, walls, etc. so that they can receive recognition from other taggers and tagging crews. The more locations that they tag their graffiti on or the more difficult the location to remove their tags, the more fame and recognition they receive. These taggers will go to other cities, counties, and even other states to achieve this objective.
Tagger graffiti is used for fame and notoriety, with the objective to get their moniker up so they can receive recognition from other taggers and tagging crews. Gang graffiti is strictly territorial and is used to let members of other gangs know to stay out of a particular area or be subject to retaliation.


Sexual Assault, Child Abuse, & Domestic Violence

Sexual Assault, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Investigations

Contact the case agent assigned to your incident. Express your desire to "drop charges." However, due to the nature of Sexual Assaults and Child Abuse, in most cases the police department will proceed with the investigation by submitting the case to the District Attorney's office for review and consideration of filing a criminal complaint; regardless of the victim's desire to prosecute.
If the physical or sexual abuse, or severe neglect is in progress, contact the police department by calling 911. If the abuse or neglect has recently occurred, but the "emergency" is over, contact the police department business line at (951) 787-7911. In either case, contact the case agent in order to update the initial investigation.
Call the General Investigations Bureau's front office at (951) 353-7100. Be prepared to provide the report number assigned to the investigation by the police officer that took the initial report. If you don't have the report number, ask to speak with a Sexual Assault or Child Abuse Detective or the unit supervisor.
Contact the Rape Crisis 24-hour Hot Line at (951) 686 7273. An advocate will provide information and make appropriate referrals.
Contact the Child Protective Services 24 hour Reporting service at 1(800) 422-4918 or (951) 413-5000. A CPS representative will make the appropriate referrals.

Web Resources
For more information, please browse to the following locations:
California Attorney General's Child Protection Program
Children's Institute International

Riverside County Children's Protective Services
Investigates reports of child abuse
(800) 442-4918 24-hour
The Domestic Violence Unit of the Riverside Police Department investigates all crimes involving domestic violence and physical elder abuse. The Domestic Violence Unit works closely with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and joined forces with the Riverside County Family Justice Center. The Domestic Violence Unit is comprised of one supervisor and five detectives.
If you have a domestic violence emergency, you should immediately call 9-1-1.
Call the Centralized Investigations Bureau's front office at (951) 353-7100. Be prepared to provide the report number assigned to the investigation by the police officer that took the initial report. If you don't have the report number, ask to speak with a domestic violence detective or the unit supervisor.
Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior where one partner tries to maintain control of the other using physical force, intimidation, threats, isolation from family and friends, humiliation, financial control, destruction of property and more.

Domestic Violence involves abuse committed against any person, any gender, adult or minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant (intimate), dating or former dating, engagement - current or past, or having a child in common.
Abuse, caregiver neglect or unjustified physical or mental suffering committed against a person 65 years or older or a dependent adult between the ages of 18 and 64.

The criteria for elder abuse cases include those relationships listed for domestic violence as well as parent/child, grandparent/grandchild and elder/paid, primary or licensed caregiver.

The Riverside Police Department works closely with Adult Protective Services in order to accurately assess the seriousness of each case and provide maximum advocacy services to the victim.
Children often hear the conflict and witness the aftermath, such as bruises, black eyes, or broken bones.

Here are some examples of how your child may react to being exposed to domestic violence:
  • Eating and sleeping disorders (nightmares)

  • Separation anxiety

  • Aggressive behaviors (anger), regressive behaviors (wetting the bed)

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Guilt for not being able to stop the abuse or loving the abuser

  • Taking responsibly for the abuse

  • Constant anxiety (that another beating may take place)

  • Fear of abandonment

Victims of domestic violence should immediately call their local police for assistance. Any physical evidence of the violence should be kept for the police. Once the police are called on a domestic violence incident, they will interview all persons involved and arrest the batterer when possible and obtain medical aid for the victim when necessary. The Riverside Police Department will assist the victim to obtain an emergency protective order if needed. Officers can also provide victims with information regarding emergency shelter (24 hour hotline 1-800-339-Safe or in Riverside local calling area (951) 683-0829) and Domestic Violence resources. The officer will then write a report which will be forwarded to the Riverside Police Domestic Violence Unit. The Riverside County District Attorney will decide if the case will be filed.

The victim becomes a witness for the State and unlike civil court, cannot decide whether or not to prosecute or "press charges." This means that the State may prosecute even when the victim does not want to prosecute. This is in effect so that a batterer will understand that coercing or scaring a victim into requesting that charges be dropped is not an effective means of avoiding criminal proceedings.

Once a criminal case is filed, a victim should contact the Riverside County Family Justice Center.


The Riverside Family Justice Center
The Riverside Family Justice Center provides victims of domestic violence with centralized access to public and private resources in a safe, secure, and private environment.

The services include legal assistance, victim/witness services, court and hospital accompaniment, crisis intervention, emergency assistance, information and referral, and access to law enforcement and prosecutors.


Domestic Violence Victim Resources
Family Justice Center Riverside County at (951) 955-6100 or online at https://safefjc.org/

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is the most important piece of federal legislation in the movement to end dating abuse. Contact the Office on Violence Against Women at https://www.justice.gov/ovw/


Alternative to Domestic Violence
24 HOUR CRISIS LINES (951) 683-0829
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
Confidential 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Answers to many questions about domestic violence are contained in a consumer education pamphlet entitled "Can the Law Protect Me from Domestic Violence?" published by the State Bar of California. It is on the Bar's website at www.calbar.ca.gov and can be ordered by calling (888) 875-5297.




If you are an Identity Theft victim and the crime originated outside the city of Riverside, the matter will be appropriately routed to the police agency where the crime occurred. For all other economic crimes that occurred within the Riverside City limits you may call (951) 353-7100 to determine the detective assigned to the case and the current status.
If you become a victim of check fraud, it is important to contact your bank immediately. The bank officer will request that an affidavit of forgery form be completed and filed. Also, be sure to notify the three major credit bureaus as soon as possible: Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax Consumer Reporting Services (see links located below). In addition, you will need to initiate a police report at your local police station and personally retain copies on file for additional fraudulent check recipients.
If you discover you have been a victim of mail theft, initiate a theft report with the police department and contact the U. S. Postal Service immediately. Additionally, you should contact the credit bureaus (see below) as soon as possible and obtain a copy of your credit report. Investigate the matter thoroughly to determine if credit has been fraudulently established in your name and place a "stop payment" with the bank on any stolen checks. It is also important to monitor your accounts daily, as criminals often wait a short period of time before attempting to access your accounts.



U-Visa/T-Visa Investigations

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal component of US Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) with the responsibility to determine whether immigration benefits and immigration status should be granted to victims and/or witnesses of certain qualifying crimes.

The Riverside Police Department (RPD) is responsible for investigating all requests for U-Visa and T-Visa certification. RPD’s role in the process is only whether to certify the Form I-914 or I-918 Supplement B by determining whether the person requesting certification is the victim of a qualifying crime, evaluating their helpfulness, and/or any other pertinent circumstances related to the crime, follow-up investigation, or prosecution. These factors are considered in determining whether the Form I-918 Supplemental will be certified.

A supervisor assigned to the Investigations Division will conduct a thorough review of the documents and supporting materials that are submitted as part of a request before a determination is made. A letter will be sent to the requesting person within 90 days.

To apply for a U-Visa or T-Visa certification download the U-Visa request form, fill out completely, and print. Mail the form and a copy of your photo identification to:

Riverside Police Department
ATT: U-Visa Unit
10540 Magnolia Ave., Suite B
Riverside, Ca 92505


Forensics Unit

Evidence Collection

1. Consider becoming an Explorer (high school), Cadet/Intern (college), or Volunteer (adults) with your local law enforcement agency.  You will be able to interact with other law enforcement personnel and may be allowed to observe criminal investigations.

2. Take basic to advanced photography courses and develop your skills with digital cameras.  Photographic skills are critical to Forensics work.

3. Consider completing a certificate program in forensic science or criminal justice.  They will train on the basic forensic skills required for the position.

4. Contact personnel in your local Forensics Unit and ask them questions about their job and experiences.

5. Forensics Unit positions do not open frequently, consider a position in a local law enforcement agency that could provide the experience needed to help you promote to a Forensics position.

Additionally, the internet can be a good source of information on the field of Forensics.  The following links have additional information about Forensics in general.



Periodically, the Forensics Units allows internship and volunteer opportunities for those that express an interest in this career field. If you are interested in applying for an internship or volunteer position within the department or Forensics Unit, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 951-826-5235 or [email protected]

Mail a request letter with all necessary information to the Records Bureau at:

4102 Orange Street

Riverside, California 92501


Special Investigations Bureau

Gangs, Graffiti, Narcotics, Intelligence and Vice Unit

The Riverside Police Department’s Vice Unit is responsible for law enforcement relating to the following crimes: Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Lewd Conduct in public places, Alcohol and Beverage Control laws, and Illegal Gambling. The unit also administers regulatory and enforcement requirements of the Riverside Municipal Code relating to Bingo, Adult Entertainment, Massage, Vehicle for Hire and Fortune-telling.
The Vice Unit is tasked with the enforcement of all laws involving prostitution. Consequently, members of the unit make multiple prostitution arrests on a weekly basis. Focusing on the areas of highest concentration for prostitution activity, the Vice Unit will periodically conduct "sting" operations targeting both prostitutes and customers. Repeat offenders or reports of previous violations may be reported to the Riverside Police Department Vice Unit at (951) 353-7218.
Specific incidents may be reported to the Police Department as a routine request for service to the Police Communications Center at (951) 354-2007. Repeat offenders or reports of previous violations may be reported to the Riverside Police Department Vice Unit at (951) 353-7218 or the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (951) 782-4400.


290 PC Compliance Officer

Sex Registrant Compliance

The Riverside Police Department is committed to providing outstanding police service by meeting the needs of the community. The 290 PC/Sex Registrant Compliance Officer position was created to take a pro-active approach in ensuring the safety of all residents of Riverside. Working alongside state and federal law enforcement agencies to enforce the contracted terms of Sex Crime Registration, our goal is to attain 100% compliance through education to the public, the registrant and through strict compliance enforcement.

California has required sex offenders to register with their local law enforcement agencies since 1947. In addition, California's Megan's Law provides the public with certain information on the whereabouts of sex offenders to help community members protect themselves and their children from sexual predators. Megan's Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known registered sex offender who had moved across the street from Megan’s family without their knowledge. In the wake of the tragedy, the Kankas sought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. Largely due to their efforts, all states now have a form of Megan's Law.

Sex Registrant Compliance Officer - Responsibilities
The Riverside Police 290 PC/Sex Registrant Compliance Officer registers sex offenders residing within the city of Riverside and may also register sex offenders attending Riverside Community College. The officer also verifies that the information provided on the Sex Registrant application is accurate by performing compliance checks at the specified addresses. In addition, the officer will arrest the violator and prepare the case for prosecution if the sex registrant’s terms have been violated.


Property Crimes

Stolen Property Investigations

Unfortunately, breaking and entering and the illegal use of credit cards are two different crimes. Proving the same suspect committed both crimes can be difficult, as stolen property is commonly sold or traded. As a result, two separate units of the Police Department would be investigating the case - the Property Crimes Unit and the Economic Crimes Unit. Videos may provide valuable evidence if the quality is good enough, but only if someone is able to identify the suspect. As a rule of thumb, if the suspect can be identified, detectives will be able to utilize the video as evidence and proceed with prosecution.

Once the suspect uses your stolen credit card/check at a business, the business and the bank then become victims of a third and separate crime. However, you should not be held liable for services or goods that were purchased unlawfully. As soon as possible, file an initial crime report with the Riverside Police Department and document the report number for the bank/credit card company and for your own records. If you have further questions about the break-in, contact the Property Crimes Unit at (951) 353-7941. If you have additional questions about the credit card/check or identity theft issues, contact the Economic Crimes Unit at (951) 353-7100. Also, be sure to have your RPD Report Number on hand so the call may be routed to the proper detective.
Evidence technicians respond to most major incidents and assist in the documentation, preservation, and collection of physical evidence at crime scenes. When called to respond to a major incident, an evidence technician may be required to document the scene with digital and standard photography, collect any physical evidence, create, and reproduce computerized crime scene drawings, and process physical evidence for latent fingerprints. While in the office, the technician assists patrol officers and detectives by processing submitted evidence for latent fingerprints. Latent print cards are then gathered and transported to the department's fingerprint examiner. Once the examiner receives the latent print cards, the examiner closely examines each card to determine their worth as evidence.
Depending on the status of the case, we may be able to release your property. Release of property is reliant upon these stipulations:
  1. If you have a court order, the police department will comply with a valid court order.
  2. If the case has a disposition, the items of evidentiary value will be held until the case is adjudicated.
  3. If you have documentation to prove ownership, such as receipts and serial numbers, those items are usually necessary to regain serialized items.
  4. Along with the above documents, you will need a valid form of picture identification to facilitate the release of property.

Release must be coordinated through the assigned detective. Property Room personnel do not facilitate the release.