The East Bay is seeing a continuous uptick in crime rates as the government releases thousands of inmates from county jails due to the threat of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Repeat offenders who previously stayed in prison have become more brazen and are committing new crimes across East Bay, according to Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly. 

“Crime in general is up. There is no doubt. You can go to any city in the Bay Area, any community, and you will definitely see an uptick in crime,” Kelly said. 

Officers have received multiple reports of home invasions in Castrol Valley this week. Many cases occured while residents were in their homes. 

In one incident, two robbers held down a 96-year-old man to steal his flip phone and $20. Another incident saw a family terrorized by armed men who ransacked their apartment. The home invaders reportedly told the victims to wait for five minutes before calling 911. 

“It’s concerning that they would go to that level for that little amount of loot,” Sgt. Kelly said. 

Police officers are still investigating the incidents. The suspects involved in both incidents have yet to be found or arrested. 

The Alameda County Jail has released 2,500 inmates since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. Arrests made across the county have also dropped by 30% due to COVID-19 guidelines.