Safety & San Jose

201611.15

San Jose is a beautiful, vibrant city in the Silicon Valley. With a population of 1,015,785 as of the 2010 census, this technology hub unfortunately has an above-average crime rate.

Neighborhood Scout rates San Jose at 24, meaning that the city is safer than only 24 percent of cities in the United States. A person’s chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in San Jose is 1 in 296, while the chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in California is 1 in 252.

Unfortunately, the high crime rate increases chances that a person in San Jose will become an offender. Some people find themselves sitting in a San Jose jail cell for a bad spur-of-the-moment decision, and they must quickly figure out how to navigate both the legal system and the bail bonds process.

The Bail Bonds Process

Bail is the amount of money that an offender pays to be released from jail before their criminal trial, and this amount is set by a judge. Bail ensures that the offender returns to court for all proceedings. When the offender appears as required, the court returns the bail amount. If the offender does not appear, they forfeit the bail amount and the judge issues a warrant for their arrest.

Nationally, 60 percent of people in jail are awaiting trial and not serving sentences for crimes, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Of these people, three-fourths are awaiting trial for non-violent crimes. The bail bonds process allows these people to wait in their own homes, rather than in jail, if they are not a flight risk.

The first step in the bail bonds process is the bail hearing. The judge considers the offender’s mental condition, drug or alcohol usage, criminal history and ties to the community, and then sets the bail amount, or may release the offender on their own recognizance.

Once the judge sets the bail amount, the offender must post that amount for their release from jail. The offender can post cash for the full bond amount, but, in many cases, the bail amount is more than the offender has available. If this happens, the offender can contact a bail bondsman. The bail bondsman charges a non-refundable fee and then agrees to pay the balance to the court if the offender does not appear at their hearings. The bail bondsman may hire a bounty hunter to find the offender if they do not appear in court, and may also sue the offender civilly to recover money paid to the court on the offender’s behalf.

Crime in San Jose

Bail amounts are typically higher for more serious crimes, such as murder, rape, robbery and assault. Annually, San Jose has 3,433 violent crimes, or 3.38 violent crimes for every 1,000 residents. These include 32 murders, 442 rapes, 1,094 robberies and 1,865 assaults. The San Jose Police Department reports that only five of these crimes were hate crimes in 2015. Four violent crimes were because of the victim’s race, one because of religion, and one for sexual orientation.

Property crimes such as burglary, theft or motor vehicle theft are typically less serious than violent crimes, and may have lower bail amounts. Annually, San Jose has 5,213 burglaries, 12,284 thefts and 7,647 motor vehicle thefts. The chance of becoming a victim of property crime in San Jose is 1 in 40.

Despite its overall high crime rate, San Jose has beautiful enclaves of safe neighborhoods. The south and east sides of San Jose have lower crime rates than the central and west sides. Neighborhood Scout lists Aborn Road/Quimby Road, Norwood Avenue/Klein Road, English Town, Tuers Road/Mclaughlin Avenue and Coyote as the safest neighborhoods. These safe areas should encourage people to visit or move to San Jose without the fear of becoming crime victims.