Hispanic business owner, GOP candidate rips Dem crime policies after drug addicts torch his Las Vegas property

A local Hispanic business owner running for public office isn’t parsing words when it comes to Democrats’ soft-on-crime policies after one of his properties was torched by drug addicts over the weekend.

Rafael Arroyo, a Las Vegas Republican running for the Nevada Assembly in the 41st district, operates a small business that partners with the state DMV for emissions testing and vehicle registration. He awoke to news on Saturday that one of his office locations had partially burned down after yet another break-in, something he says is so frequent he no longer attempts to file police reports.

“There’s no point in filing a police report because they’re never going to get caught,” Arroyo told Fox News Digital in an interview. “That’s something that if the laws were there to back up small businesses, then they would be worth it, but they’re not.”

Arroyo said the area where that particular property was located was “not the best” side of town and that there is a plethora of mentally ill, homeless and drug-addicted people who roam the surrounding streets and have frequently broken into his business. He says the 7-Eleven next door blasts classical music just to try and mitigate the loiterers, and that police patrols and cameras aren’t enough to make a significant difference.

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“The cops have been called hundreds of times, hundreds of times, to get those people out of there,” noting the individuals had begun lighting fires at night, but would only get “a slap on the wrist” if they were ever caught doing anything illegal.

Arroyo suspects that when a shuttle bus he uses as a mobile office was broken into once again on Friday night by people who use it to get high, the perpetrators, who he does not know, this time decided to light a fire on the inside. It appeared to then get out of control before completely burning and causing damage to the surrounding infrastructure.

He explained that he didn’t have the video footage with an angle showing how the fire spread because police were reviewing it as part of their investigation, something he was told “could take up to a couple of months.”

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“When you have an addiction problem, and you get to a certain point, like you’re not mentally well, and they do things that make no sense. There’s no explanation for it,” Arroyo said. “These people — they need help. Some of them are to the point where they need real professional help.”

Rafael Arroyo

Business owner Rafael Arroyo, a Republican running for the Nevada Assembly, suffered damage to one of his properties at the hands of drug addicts who started a fire. (Rafael Arroyo)

“Those are the type of things we have to focus on instead of just saying, hey, we’re going to give you a slap on the wrist, and it’s okay for you to stay here,” he said. “I understand trying to have compassion because it’s true, they’re humans, and you want to have compassion for them, but sometimes it goes from compassion to enabling.”

Arroyo pointed to major cities in states like California, and all across the West Coast, where he said the consequences of letting things go like that were evident in businesses deciding to shut down because they couldn’t operate in a safe environment and protect their employees. 

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“So, for my opponent to bring these same exact policies here, it doesn’t make any sense. We already have the proof that they don’t work,” he said, referencing Nevada Assembly Majority Leader Sandra Jauregui, a Democrat, and noting legislation the body passed to reduce penalties for controlled substances.

“At the end of the day, if you’re just giving people a slap on the wrist, they’re going to continue to use drugs, and it’s going to affect them mentally, and then you get to a point where you’re at. You can see this in Portland, Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco, L.A. Like you see this stuff happening all up and down the West Coast, and they’re trying to bring it here,” he said.

Republican Nevada business owner Rafael Arroyo

Republican business owner Rafael Arroyo speaks to voters in Las Vegas. Arroyo is running to represent the 41st Assembly District. (Rafael Arroyo)

Arroyo was born in Puerto Rico, but moved with his family to Las Vegas in the early 1990s and saw the city grow exponentially over the years. He says the homeless and crime problem really started to get worse in the early 2010s, and that he jumped into the race because he doesn’t believe in complaining from the sidelines.

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“I’m not going to sit here and allow our state to be taken over by bad policies from California. There’s a lot of good people that moved here from California. I welcome them. But don’t bring bad policies. You just left there for a reason. You got to be able to connect those two things together,” he said.

He stressed that this year’s local elections were important because the Democrat-controlled state Senate was only one seat away from being able to override any veto by Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo, and that electing candidates to both houses of the state legislature who would stand up to these soft-on-crime policies was critical to preventing Nevada becoming the next California.

Republican Nevada business owner Rafael Arroyo

Republican business owner Rafael Arroyo works alongside an employee at his business in Las Vegas. Arroyo is running to represent the 41st Assembly District. (Rafael Arroyo)

“We’re one seat away from that. I can’t allow that to happen. I grew up here, I established myself here, my family’s here. I’m not just going to run. I’m not going to run to Texas or Florida or wherever. I’m not doing that. No. We’re here. We’re going to fight,” he said.

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The 41st district in which Arroyo is a candidate is viewed by many across the state as a top target for Republicans to flip. 

Democrats currently hold a 14-seat majority in the 42-seat state Assembly, and a 5-seat majority in the 21-seat state Senate.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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