DENVER (KDVR) — Denver International Airport owns the city’s highest number of auto thefts in 2021.
Colorado itself is the middle of a car theft wave. According to national data, it has the third highest auto theft rate in the U.S., the majority of which takes place in the Denver metro area.
As one of the nation’s busiest airports, DIA’s annual travel numbers leave a lot of cars on the road. Its distance from the city itself makes it easy pickings with parking garages, hotel parking lots and rental car lots.
In 2021, the Denver Police Department has tracked 492 auto thefts in the DIA neighborhood. The next most happened in Central Park, formerly Stapleton, which tallied 422 auto thefts in 2021.
This marks a change from previous years. Since 2016, auto thefts were concentrated more in neighborhoods closer to Denver’s core.
Like other crimes across the nation, statewide auto thefts spiked in the summer of 2020 and haven’t yet come back down to pre-pandemic levels.
Only five years ago in 2016, there were an average 12 auto thefts in DIA per month. That monthly average more than doubled in 2020 to 26 per month, and doubled again for the first three quarters of 2021 to 50 auto thefts per months.
Since DIA is not a heavily residential area, the overwhelming majority of its car thefts happen in two areas – the airport itself and the rental depots surrounding it and the hotel and convention center district just east of Pena Blvd.
The commercial district had about twice the number of car thefts as the immediate airport area.
There were 323 thefts from the hotel and convention area and 169 from the airport itself and its surrounding rental lots.