Colorado at First in the Nation for Vehicle Theft

Here’s some unfortunate news: If you reside in Colorado, there is a higher chance of your car being stolen compared to any other state.

According to a recent study by the FBI, Colorado is the state where your car is most likely to be stolen. The study found that there were 851.70 reported car thefts per 100,000 vehicles in Colorado. Between 2012 and 2022, a study found that 45,883 vehicles were stolen in Colorado.

According to Cale Gould, who works for the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA), a part of the Colorado State Patrol, FBI statistics are based on reported incidents. These incidents can include attempted car thefts, break-ins, thefts of vehicle parts, and more.

“When we analyze that data, we are not just referring to auto theft,” he said. “We track auto theft in a different way. Instead of counting each report of auto theft, we count the number of vehicles involved in each theft. This means that one report could include one, two, or even several vehicles.”

However, there is also some positive information to share. The number of car thefts in Colorado has decreased a lot in the past two years.

In Colorado, Gould said that 2022 had the highest rate of auto theft per person. “In 2023, we noticed a significant drop, with a 20% decrease.” And this year we are on schedule to decrease that even more. We are currently experiencing a decrease of approximately 25 to 30% compared to last year. So we are making progress.

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An official report from CAPTA stated that the Denver Metro area had 777 fewer vehicles stolen, resulting in a 37% decrease. Similarly, Southern Colorado had 191 fewer vehicles stolen, leading to a 36% decrease. The time period mentioned is from March 2023 to March 2024.

Did you know that cars are often stolen not because the thieves want the car, but because they plan to use it for another crime?

“These days, auto theft is not primarily about stealing a car just because it’s cool,” Gould explained. “You enjoy the car because it has value, is enjoyable, and is speedy.” Actually, it’s not about that. The ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ model is not seen anymore. People steal cars because they desire the car. They steal cars in a very literal sense in order to commit other crimes, such as drive-by shootings.

It becomes clear when we examine the list of the ten cars that are most frequently stolen in Colorado:

  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Honda Civic
  • GMC Sierra
  • Kia Soul
  • Kia Sportage
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Kia Optima
  • Ford F-250
  • Honda Accord

It’s important to take precautions to prevent car theft, even if you don’t own one of these cars. Gould suggests that there are several actions that people can take.

Remember to lock your car and always take your keys with you. You need to do that because auto thefts often happen when vehicles are left running or unattended, or when keys are left in cupholders or spare keys are inside the vehicles. That makes vehicles vulnerable to being easily attacked. We often suggest starting there, but there are many other things that people can and should do.

“We strongly encourage people to gather information, educate themselves, and learn how to prevent vehicle theft,” he continued. “It’s tailored to each person’s needs and preferences.” We have a website that is designed for the general public. Our goal is to provide the public with the most accurate and helpful information. The system is based on data and includes features like live heat maps that show auto theft incidents for the current year. Users can zoom in to their neighborhood and view the incidents in detail.

“However, we always recommend that people use devices such as steering wheel locks or parking boots.” You can purchase those items on Amazon for $20. The ones they use in the city are different, but you can also purchase them on Amazon for $90. And that’s a great way to stop cars from being stolen.

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