OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Teens and juveniles, some as young as 11 years old, are committing an alarming number of violent crimes in Oakland, according to police.

Police have seen an uptick in the number of young people involved in armed carjackings and robberies in Oakland and warn residents to be vigilant while getting in and out of their cars. Police say officers have arrested middle-school age suspects who have held victims at gunpoint.

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The juveniles, ranging in age between 11-16 are known to use the stolen vehicles to commit additional robberies throughout Oakland. The Department is very concerned about these dangerous crimes committed by these children and teenagers.

“It is my hope that everyone is alarmed by the fact that it appears these violent acts are being committed by middle-school-age youth, barely more than children, armed with weapons,” said Interim Police Chief Susan E. Manheimer in a statement. “This not only poses a great risk to our community but also to the offenders and their young peers. OPD is working with our city and county partners to interrupt this troubling criminal behavior while reaching these adolescents at such a critical stage in their lives.”

OPD is working with the Department of Violence Prevention and the Alameda County Probation Department to find ways to prevent such crimes and get the resources needed to keep teens out of trouble and off the streets.

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Regina Jackson, President and CEO of the East Oakland Youth Development Center says reaching out to teens in the middle of a pandemic has been challenging. She says problems have been compounded by the fact these kids have not been in a classroom for nine months and don’t have access to role models outside of their family and help.

“The frustration, the desperation, the lack of supervision, the devils workshop — all of that means people don’t have the patience, they’re not exercising the best decision making,” Jackson told KPIX 5.

Jackson offered this message for the kids of Oakland. “If anyone out there can hear me, we’ve gotta be kinder, not more mean and we cannot attack others and steal from others.”

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This an active investigation and anyone with information was asked to contact the Robbery Section at (510) 238-3326.