According to data provided by the Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (CMATT), car thefts in Colorado have increased by 173% in the past 3 years. That makes Colorado the No. 1 state in the nation for car thefts per capita, as reported by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
What is causing the number of car thefts to soar in Colorado?
One contributing factor is the growing homeless population in Denver. Many car thieves that are repeat offenders are part of the homeless population and use the stolen cars as shelters. Though most stolen cars are eventually recovered, the thief is often long gone and never found.
The relatively lax laws against car theft also play a significant part in the increasing rate of car theft. Even when thieves are caught, they tend to get out within days and see little to no punishment. The lack of real repercussions for car thieves makes it a low risk/high reward crime, leading to many repeat offenders.
Which vehicles are most at-risk of being stolen?
The Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA) released a list of the 10 most-stolen vehicles in the Denver metro area from January-March 2022:
What can you do to prevent your car from being stolen?
- No “Puffing.” Don’t leave your car running when you’re not in it.
- Lock your car and roll up your windows. Leaving it unlocked, the windows down (even just a crack), or leaving a spare key in or on the car makes a thief’s job much easier.
- Park in a garage if you can. Significantly fewer cars are stolen from garages than from driveway, streets, or parking lots.
- Park in well-lit areas. Both in public and at home. If you park in your driveway or on the street at your house, consider adding a bright light to reduce shadows where a thief could hide.
- Don’t leave valuables in your car. Many cars are targeted because the thief sees money, a computer, a camera, a purse, or some other valuables inside.
- Install an outdoor camera that covers the area where you park your car. Just the presence of a camera can deter a would-be thief, and if your car is stolen it can help identify the culprit.
Read more tips for car theft prevention from Lockdown: https://lockdownyourcar.org/prevention/
Catalytic Converter Thefts are Soaring
What is a catalytic converter?
A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle’s exhaust system that helps turn toxic pollutants into cleaner emissions.
Why are they being targeted?
They are made of precious metals, commonly platinum, palladium and rhodium, all of which can be sold for high prices. A single catalytic converter can be sold for as high as $1,500.
Since they are easy to steal, many can be stolen in a short period of time. Since they are easy to steal and worth a pretty penny, they are a prime target for thieves to make money quickly.
Where are vehicles most at-risk?
Cars that are parked in public spaces are the most likely to have their catalytic converter stolen. Places where cars are likely to be parked for a longer period of time, like a Park-N-Ride or airport parking lot, are the most commonly targeted.
Which vehicles are targeted the most?
According to Denver7, Hondas and Toyotas are the most targeted vehicles in the Denver area.
What can you do to prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen?
The police don’t recommend confronting someone if you see them trying to steal your catalytic converter. There’s a pattern of thieves pulling weapons when confronted. It’s safer to call the police and report the theft in-progress while keeping a safe distance.
Some steps you can take to prevent theft:
- Park in a garage or well lit area
- Have the bolts holding the catalytic converter welded in place
- Put a cage around it
- Get your VIN engraved on the catalytic converter, which may deter theft or increase the chances of finding your missing part
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Sources:Contreras, Ó., & Miller, B. (2022, April 4). Catalytic converter thefts: What cars are being targeted, where it’s happening, & how to protect yourself. Denver 7 Colorado News (KMGH). Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/360/catalytic-converter-thefts-what-cars-are-being-targeted-where-its-happening-how-to-protect-yourself
Auto theft prevention tips- CATPA – all about puffer cars. CATPA. (2022, July 6). Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://lockdownyourcar.org/prevention/
Fields, M. (2022, July 18). Fields: Aurora offering a model solution to Colorado car theft tsunami. Sentinel Colorado. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://sentinelcolorado.com/opinion/fields-aurora-offering-a-model-solution-to-colorado-car-theft-tsunami/
Friday. (2022, July 1). Year-to-date Colorado car thefts outpacing 2021. Colorado State Patrol. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://csp.colorado.gov/press-release/year-to-date-colorado-car-thefts-outpacing-2021
Kovaleski, J. (2022, June 21). Here are the areas where your car is most likely to get stolen in the Denver Metro Area. Denver 7 Colorado News (KMGH). Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/investigations/here-are-the-areas-where-your-car-is-most-likely-to-get-stolen-in-the-denver-metro-area
Nieto, G. (2022, April 14). Top 10 most-stolen vehicles in the Denver Metro. FOX31 Denver. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://kdvr.com/news/local/top-10-most-stolen-vehicles-denver-metro/
Pender, C. (2022, August 9). Why do people steal catalytic converters? KRON4. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://www.kron4.com/news/why-do-people-steal-catalytic-converters/#:~:text=The%20three%20precious%20metals%20that,%2C%20according%20to%20cars.com.