The Denver area experienced a 114% increase in auto thefts in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year — an upward trend that began with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
The Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority’s Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force tracked stolen vehicles in a six-county area that included Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties.
The task force recorded 2,359 cars stolen in January, followed by 2,143 in February and 2,167 in March — totaling 6,669 thefts in the six-county area. Denver accounted for 2,390 of those first-quarter thefts.
During the same time last year, there were 1,035 auto thefts in January, 927 in February and 1,148 in March.
“If trends continue as they are, we’ll see another more than 40% increase in auto theft in the Denver metro area for 2021,” said Mike Greenwell, head of auto theft task force.
In 2020, 7,568 cars were stolen in Denver after three years in which the annual number of auto thefts didn’t surpass 5,000.
Here is a list of the top stolen vehicles in the six-county Denver area for the first quarter of 2021:
- Chevrolet Silverado: 325
- Ford F250: 248
- Honda Accord: 241
- Kia Optima: 201
- Hyundai Sonata: 197
- Honda Civic: 184
- GMC Sierra: 144
- Ford F350: 139
- Hyundai Elantra: 138
- Kia Sportage: 127
Greenwell said the task force has seen more than a 400% increase in thefts of newer models of Kias and Hyundais. Chevrolet Silverados are being stolen more for the tools in the car rather than the car itself, he said.
The economic impact of these first-quarter 2021 thefts amounted to $59,260,734, according to data provided by task force. A further breakdown shows that Denver had the highest economic impact in the metro area at $21,237,540.
Out of the 6,669 total thefts in the first three months of 2021, 6,098 vehicles have been recovered.
Motorists can keep their cars safer by locking vehicle doors and keeping the windows rolled up. Having a steering wheel lock or alarm enabled also could deter thieves. Drivers should not leave their car unattended while it’s running or keep their keys in the vehicle.
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