The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department was awarded a $75,000 grant from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, authorities announced Saturday.

The grant is intended to help battle alcohol-related harm primarily in the cities of Canyon Lake, Lake Elsinore, Temecula and Wildomar.

“This is important to the county of Riverside in order to increase protection for youth and to shut down problem locations that have contributed to an increase in crime,” said Sheriff Chad Bianco.

The grant will strengthen law enforcement efforts by combining the talents of local police officers and ABC agents who have expertise in alcoholic beverage laws and can help communities reduce alcohol-related harm, according to the sheriff’s department.

“The program can improve the quality of life in neighborhoods, ” said ABC Director Eric Hirata. “We’ve seen a real difference in the communities where the grant program resources have been invested.”

ABC’s Alcohol Policing Program was created in 1995 to strengthen partnerships between ABC and law enforcement agencies and was designed to keep minors away from alcohol and prevent harm to the community.

Funds from the grant will be used to reduce the number of alcoholic beverage sales to minors, obviously intoxicated patrons, illegal solicitations of alcohol and other criminal activities such as the sale and possession of illegal drugs.

The APP program has distributed more than $40 million to law enforcement to combat alcohol-related harm, according to the sheriff’s department.

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