AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — An Aurora city council member said the state is not doing enough to stop car thefts. So he is taking matters into his own hands to respond to critics.

Car theft is a problem in Colorado. According to the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority, nearly 37,000 cars were stolen in Colorado just last year.

Aurora city councilman Dustin Zvonek believes his municipality cannot wait.

“I campaigned last year and won this office in November on a pledge to improve the public safety of our city and there’s just no question,” Zvonek said. “It doesn’t matter where you are around the city, people are talking about auto theft and the state legislature, even this past session with misdemeanor reform, they’ve continually made stealing cars more permissive.”

Zvonek is looking to propose an ordinance during a public safety meeting next week to increase the punishment for stealing cars in Aurora.

“It introduces to our municipal code a minimum mandatory of 60 days for any motor vehicle theft and a minimum mandatory for people who fail to appear for their court date. This is another ancillary challenge we deal with where criminals don’t show up for their court dates,” Zvonek said.

Car thefts need widespread solutions, councilor says

FOX31 legal analyst George Brauchler, the former district attorney, agreed with the challenges.

“Specifically with motor vehicle theft, we do nothing to punish offenders or to even get them off the streets during the pendency of the cases,” Brauchler said. “I think we are going to see more and more cars stolen, more and more carburetor thefts. This is going to continue unabated through the summer and probably into next year until a legislature comes along that’s going to do something about it.”

Zvonek hopes other cities will join Aurora in passing similar measures.

“The truth of the matter is, you don’t want a patchwork of these types of laws because if we are successful, that’s not good news for Denver, that’s not good news for our neighbors, because people are just going to go commit crime somewhere else,” Zvonek said. “That’s not what I want. What I want to see happen is a statewide solution, but absent of that, we’re going to do this.”

The plan will go before the Aurora City Council Public Safety Committee next week. It is expected to clear that group, where all the members are conservative, but the full group vote may be a bit more interesting.