ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Zero bail is a fail when it comes to public safety, that is the opinion of officials at one Bay Area detention facility.
Those officials told KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun releasing inmates has lead to a recent spike in crime
“We’re catching people with guns, with stolen vehicles and we’re turning them around and releasing them out the door, hours later and they’re doing it again,” Alameda County Sgt. Ray Kelly said.
It has been about a month since the state of California ordered a zero bail schedule, releasing thousands of low level offenders from jail for health and safety reasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now officials at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin say some of those former inmates are responsible a recent crime wave in the East Bay.
“At least in Alameda County we are seeing a lot of car thefts, we’re up to three, four, five vehicle pursuits a day, just in the Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction, burglaries and thefts are through the roof,” Sgt. Kelly said. “Since we have been dealing with the pandemic we have been keeping track of re-offenses. We’ve had over 50 people be rearrested. We have one individual leading the pack probably national with seven re-arrests.”
That distinction belongs to Mr. Waseen Abuhawaidi. During the shelter-in-place order he has been arrested, cited and released for crimes including burglary, vandalism, driving under the influence, resisting arrest, attempted second degree robbery and carjacking.
“We have been very successful in catching a lot of these criminals,” Sgt. Kelly said.
Catching them, writing up a citation and releasing them if they are suspected of committing a low level felony or misdemeanor crime.
“This is ridiculous,” Sgt. Kelly said.
Inmate advocates in favor of zero bail due to COVID-19 see it differently because of what they say is the high risk of infection in the often overcrowded conditions. However Santa Rita officials say the jail has been transformed to accommodate inmates with COVID-19.
“The jail is a safe space to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. 24-hour access to health care. There is a specific area of the jail that is designated for COVID-19 positive individuals,” Sgt. Kelly said. “The majority of those individuals are quarantined in there. They have the same services and activities. they get extra medical care provided to them. All of the patients that have had COVID-19 have recovered.”
We should note the zero bail schedule will remain in place for an additional 90-days after Governor Gavin Newsom ends the shelter-in-place order.
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