The City of Oroville is the seat of Butte County, California. The 2010 Census reported a population of 15,506, up from 13,004 in 2000.
Chico, about 25 minutes north of Oroville, is Butte County’s largest city. Butte, one of the state’s 27 original counties, is approximately 120 miles northeast of San Francisco between the Sacramento River and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Bail in Criminal Cases
In December 2015, the Superior Court adopted a Uniform Countywide Bail Schedule. Bail is property or money posted as a surety to a court granting conditional release from pretrial detention that the defendant appear at all times required. The uniform schedule provides for bail of at least $3,000 for misdemeanors punishable by up to 12 months in jail, $1,000 if for up to six months, and $15,000 for all felonies unless the court concludes otherwise. Courts set bail by assessment of risk of flight, an obviously variable factor, so actual bail may be more or less than the default amounts provided in the uniform schedule.
For help in securing release, defendants contract with state-licensed bondsmen, who post bonds for the necessary bail amounts for a standard fee, 10 percent of the bond in California. If the defendant complies with the conditions of release, the court refunds the posted amount. If the defendant fails to comply, the court may order the bond forfeited for the defendant’s failure to appear as required.
The typical contract between defendant and bondsman is for 12 months, after which it lapses unless renewed by payment of another 10-percent fee. Renewals are not unusual as many criminal cases continue for many months before reaching disposition.
The Superior Court
The Superior Court of California for Butte County is a unified court of general jurisdiction with courthouses in Oroville and Chico. All criminal cases proceed from initial hearings to dispositions in Oroville, where the Butte County Jail, the largest state correctional/detention facility north of San Francisco, operates under the Sheriff’s Office.
The Butte County Jail
State and local police in Butte County transport suspected offenders to the Oroville Courthouse by way of the county jail for processing before they make their initial court appearances to be informed of the formal charges and to be released or detained pending disposition of their cases. At this point, at the county jail or at the courthouse, bail bondsmen may become involved in some cases on behalf of defendants.
Criminal Offenses in Oroville
The Oroville crime rate is 69 per 1,000 residents, one of the highest in American communities of all sizes from the smallest towns to the largest cities. The likelihood of becoming a casualty of a crime of personal violence or of theft or destruction of property is 1 in 15. Ninety-nine percent of all California communities have lower crime rates than Oroville.
It is always interesting and instructive to compare crime rates between communities of similar size as generally the larger the city, the more criminal offenses to be expected. With a current estimated population of 16,220, Oroville has a very high combined rate of violent and property offenses. In comparison to all other American cities and towns of similar populations, Oroville fares badly. Few others have crime rates as high as Oroville’s.
National Crime Data
The data violent and property crimes combined are the seven offenses from the uniform crime reports to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 18,000 local law enforcement agencies. It is important to consider violent crimes in Oroville specifically and then property crimes because the overall crime rate is understood best if violent or property crimes or both are major contributors to it.
The Oroville violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation across communities of all sizes for rape, nonnegligent manslaughter, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and assault with deadly weapons. According to the FBI reported crime data, the probability of falling victim of any of these offenses in Oroville is 1 in 173.
In addition, lots of Oroville criminal offenses are against property: Burglary, larceny over $50, motor vehicle theft, and arson. In Oroville, the probability of becoming a victim of a property crime is 1 in 16 or a rate of 63 per 1,000 residents.
Oroville has one of the highest rates of motor vehicle theft in the nation, according to the FBI crime data, compared to communities of all sizes. An Oroville resident lives with a chance of 1 in 129 of having a car stolen.