125% increase in car thefts in metro Denver since COVID began

Before COVID-19, Denver averaged 233 auto thefts per week. This number now exceeds more than 453 weekly.

DENVER — Auto thefts in metro Denver increased more than 75% from June 21-Sept 19, according to a news release from Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (MATTF). 

During those weeks, auto thefts exceeded more than 453 per week. Since Colorado first felt the effects of COVID-19, on Feb. 9, stolen vehicles have increased by 125%, MATTF said.   

Metro area officers have recovered 85% of vehicles within 30 days, MATTF said, but recovery of few tools or other personal items is rare.            

> Video above: Car break-in caught on camera.     

According to the news release from MATTF, some of the most frequently stolen vehicles in the Denver metro area are full-size trucks, specifically the 1999-2006 Ford F150, F250, F350 trucks and the 1999-2006 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500, 2500, 3500 trucks.        

MATTF also said that the Denver metro area alone sustained a loss of $4,195,093 in the week of Sept. 13-19 — 499 vehicle thefts — due to motor vehicles being stolen.                               

“The economic impact these thefts have on our communities is enormous,” MATTF said. 

MATTF said it would like citizens to be aware of their surroundings and has these tips to reduce the risk of auto theft:

  • Park in a well-lit area where your vehicle can be seen.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas.
  • If you have a garage or other secure area to park your vehicle – use it!
  • Lock the door between your garage and the interior of your home.
  • If you see anything or anyone suspicious or looking into or around vehicles, call 911.

  • Never leave key(s) fobs to any vehicle in your car.
  • Never leave your car running and unattended.
  • Always lock your doors and roll up your windows.
  • Always remove, or at least conceal, anything of value.
  • Use a steering wheel locking device as a deterrent.
  • Use an audible alarm or another disabling device, mostly if you leave tools or other valuables inside your vehicle every day.
  • Ensure you have the license plate and VIN, the serial number for valuable items such as tools and electronics documented with proof of ownership.

  • Use a permanent method for easy identification, such as engraving your name on the tools to assist law enforcement in returning your valuables to you.              

Metro Denver Crime Stoppers  

Anyone with information on an auto theft is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or by visiting metrodenvercrimestoppers.com. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000. 

Metro Denver Crime Stoppers works by assigning a code to people who anonymously submit a tip. Information is shared with law enforcement, and Crime Stoppers are notified at the conclusion of the investigation. 

From there, an awards committee reviews the information provided and, if the information leads to an arrest, the tipster will be notified. Rewards can be collected using the code numbers received when the tip was originally submitted. 

More information about Metro Denver Crime Stoppers can be found here. 

> Additional Crime Stoppers bulletins can be found here. 

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