DENVER – For years, Denver has been a target for car thieves, and the problem has worsened in recent years.
In 2018, more than 5,300 vehicles were stolen just from the City and County of Denver. The metro area falls victim to about 15,000 auto thefts per year.
“It is a huge problem,” Denver Police Department District Four Commander Mark Fleecs told FOX31. “For the last four or five years, it’s been increasing.”
According to Fleecs, in District 4 alone, an average of 22 vehicles are stolen per week, or more than three per day. He says many of the vehicles are used to commit other crimes like drive-by shootings, robberies and drug-related crimes.
DPD is utilizing a small device called an electronic immobilizer device to fix the problem. The device is a plastic rectangle about the size of a deck of cards with several wires attached to it. It requires a mechanic to properly install it.
“It actually hooks up to the car’s electrical system, so if this is installed, the only way to start the car would be with a key fob that the car owner has. There is no other way to start and operate the vehicle,” Fleecs said.
The device doesn’t make a vehicle impossible to steal, but it makes it a lot tougher for criminals to get away.
DPD has given away more than 100 of them to residents for free and still has 16 of them left to give out. They normally cost between $600 and $700 for the device and installation.
According to DPD, “The devices are made available through a grant-funded auto theft prevention partnership including the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA), Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (MATT), AAA Colorado and the Denver Police Department (DPD).”
Only certain makes and models from specific years are eligible to receive the device for free. The cars include Subarus older than 2008, Jeeps, Hondas and Dodge Caravans older than 2004, and all Ford F-150, F-250 and F-350 trucks.
The vehicles eligible for the free devices are consistently the most commonly stolen vehicles in Colorado. Fleecs says they are the easiest vehicles to steal.
The free anti-theft devices will be available on a first-come first-served basis. If you are a Denver resident and believe your vehicle may be eligible for a free electronic immobilizer, you may contact DPD District Four Community Resource Officer Rueban Garduno at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-913-0276.