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DENVER (KDVR) — Some legal experts contend laws that prosecute thieves, a majority of whom are repeat offenders, need a little more gas if auto theft is ever going to be in our rearview.

“It’s over 4,000 per month in the state of Colorado and if that trend continues, and there’s every reason to think it will, by the end of this year we’ll have reached a Colorado record of over 48,000 stolen vehicles,” said George Brauchler, FOX31 legal analyst and former district attorney.

If you don’t know someone who has gotten their car stolen, or you haven’t yourself, Brauchler said you will soon. Four of the 10 cities with the most car thefts are found in Colorado.

“Denver and Aurora, Westminster, Pueblo,” Brauchler said.

These figures are from a study by the Common Sense Institute, which found that thousands of cars get stolen off Colorado streets.

Billions in losses estimated in Colorado auto thefts

If the problem is to be solved, Brauchler says laws need teeth.

“At the end of the day, we’re not going to incarcerate our way out of this problem,” Brauchler said, “but what we’ve shown is that incarceration is an invaluable tool, especially for the repeat offender.”

The majority of vehicles targeted by thieves are from lower- and middle-income families, typically someone who cannot afford to replace their car sooner rather than later.

“When your car gets stolen, it’s life-changing and yet the penalties associated with it are smaller than if Jeff Bezos’ car gets stolen,” Brauchler said.

It’s an expensive issue for Coloradans: The state is on pace to reach 10 figures in monetary losses.

“My guess is this year we’re going to come out somewhere between $1.5 (billion) and $2 billion as an economic impact on Colorado, just from car theft,” Brauchler said.