Auto thefts continue to explode in Colorado

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jan 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-09 20:54:31-05

DENVER — Colorado holds the top spot in the nation in car thefts per capita, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. And as we enter the new year, the state appears to stand ready to hold on to that title.

Preliminary car theft data for 2022 was released by the Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (C-MATT) on Monday.

The data shows approximately 41,225 vehicles were reported stolen in the state last year. The number represents a 10% increase from the previous year.

But that increase is not as high as the state has seen in the past several years. In 2019, car thefts in Colorado were up 104%. And a 25% increase was reported in 2021.

Statewide, owners in the Denver metro area continue to be the most vulnerable when it comes to theft. The area saw 30,408 reported auto thefts in 2022, which is a 10% increase over the previous year.

Mike Greenwell, C-MATT commander, told Denver7 he hopes legislative action will be taken to address the issue.

“I'm hoping that this new legislature does what they say they're going to do, and they're going to address the motor vehicle theft laws,” Greenwell said. “[The current laws] allow for people to go way too far into the motor vehicle theft bad habit.”

While car thefts continue to rise, catalytic converter thefts have continued to skyrocket over the past two years.

Catalytic converters are popular among criminals because of the precious metals used inside.

After just 105 thefts in 2020, Denver police reported 2,027 catalytic converter thefts in 2021 and more than 2,000 in 2022.