DENVER, Colo. (KDVR) – Officials at Denver International Airport are expecting about 1.2 million passengers to travel through the airport this Memorial Day weekend.

Recent car theft victims have triggered travelers who plan to park at or near the airport, to check their insurance coverage.

“We couldn’t get a rental car, even though we were so close to the airport, trying to get that situation dealt with kids was tough,” recent victim John Layman said. “It looks like it’s just been a real bad, bad deal for a lot of people having to deal with this. It not fun to deal with.”

Denver Police have tracked extreme spikes in car thefts this year compared to the three previous years:

DIA Auto Theft

3-Year Average Jan. 1 – May 21*Current YTD 2022 Jan. 1 – May 21

*3-year average is the average of totals from 2019, 2020, and 2021 combined

City-Wide Auto Theft

3-Year Average Jan. 1-May 21*Current YTD 2022 Jan. 1-May 21

*3-year average is the average of totals from 2019, 2020, and 2021 combined

“We are stepping up our patrols, including overtime assignments to try to get more of a police presence in the area, but really, this is symptomatic of a larger issue,” Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said. “We’ve arrested 46% more auto theft suspects last year than against our three-year baseline. Our officers are doing their part, what is lacking is any sort of consequence. Until that changes, we as a state are likely going to continue to lead the country in stolen motor vehicles.”

DIA officials told FOX31 that in addition to a Denver Police presence in the airport’s parking lots, they’re also stepping up patrols with D.I.A. and contracted employees.

DPD recommends leaving anything valuable at home, taking your valet keys with you on your travels, parking under lighted spots and making sure your car is locked.

“We have security cameras around our parking areas, but remember, we’re vast,” Renteria said. “We have thousands and thousands of parking spaces, so there are certain areas that a camera can really zoom in on and then there are other areas that cannot.”

In terms of private lot safety, our partners at Fine Airport Parking say they have over 150 security cameras, 24/7 staff, over 500 led lights and secure gate equipment in an effort to keep customers’ cars safe.