DENVER (KDVR) — Denver’s motor vehicle theft problem is the biggest single chunk of the city’s crime so far this year, according to city data.
Both Denver and Colorado have been battling a wave of auto theft for the last five years. Auto theft grew during the pandemic across the country, but the Centennial State saw the most dramatic increase. Colorado’s auto theft rate climbed by the fastest rate in the nation from 2011 to 2020 – 144%. The number of car thefts doubled from 2019 to 2022.
This is a localized issue, with most of the state’s car thefts happening in Denver and Aurora. Denver alone accounted for a third of the state’s auto thefts in 2022.
So far in 2023, 43% of all crime committed in Denver has been auto-related: theft of a vehicle itself, a part of it, something inside it or criminal mischief around a vehicle.
Theft of a motor vehicle is the single most common crime in Denver in 2023 by far. There are 139 individual criminal offenses recorded in Denver Police Department records. Of the 15,000 committed this year to date, 17% were thefts of motor vehicles.
Another 26% of Denver’s crimes were also motor vehicle-related. This includes 1,488 thefts of items from a motor vehicle, 1,279 thefts of parts from a motor vehicle and 1,205 acts of criminal mischief related to a motor vehicle.