ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Writing criminal citations then releasing the suspects — That is what police are doing with most people involved in lower level crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We don’t want to have people going in and out of our jails constantly and possibly introducing COVID-19 into the jail. That’s one of our major concerns,” Sergeant Ray Kelly said.
In the wake of the pandemic, the Judicial Council of California ordered a temporary emergency bail schedule reducing bail to zero for misdemeanor crimes, like smash and grab auto burglaries, says Alameda County Deputy Sergeant Ray Kelly.
“You would get cited and released if it is a stolen vehicle. You would get cited and released if it’s drug dealing. You would get cited and released if it’s vandalism. As long as it is non violent, non serious, non sexual and it’s a felony you would get cited,” Kelly said.
And released back into society.
The zero bail order also allowed non violent criminals to be released from jail.
He talks about the connection to a recent spike in criminal activity in Alameda County.
“We had a gentleman that left our jail and within 37-minutes committed two carjackings. Definitely seen an uptick in activity. We’re finding a lot of stolen cars, a lot of chases,” Kelly said.
He says investigators suspect some recently released inmates are likely connected to a recent rise in violent crime, that if caught will land them back behind bars despite COVID-19.
“We had a bunch of shootings this weekend in Alameda County. We have 950 people out that would normally be in our jail. Some of those people don’t necessarily like each other. Some of them have revenge on their mind. That is why we have seen some shootings and things like that,” Kelly said.
The zero bail order will remain in effect for 90-days after the governor lifts the state-of-emergency or until it is amended or repealed by the California Judicial Council.
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