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Car thefts in Denver metro area jump again in first 3 months of 2022

Vehicle thefts have seen double-digit percentage increases for nine straight quarters in the metro area, according to a report.

DENVER — Vehicle thefts in the Denver metro area didn't slow down – except in one county – in the first three months of 2022, according to a report from the Colorado-Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (C-MATT)

Motor vehicle thefts increased 24% in the Denver metro area in the first quarter of 2022 over the same time period a year earlier. That makes nine straight quarters of double-digit percentage increases in vehicle thefts over the previous year, according to the C-MATT report.

Statewide, the increase was 13% in the first quarter over the same period in 2021, the report says.

> Video above: Auto thefts on the rise in Denver

In the first quarter of 2022, about 76% of Colorado vehicle thefts happened in six counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin and Jefferson.

One of those counties, Douglas, actually saw a 7% decrease in vehicle thefts, with 142 vehicles stolen, over the last quarter of 2021, the report says.

RELATED: List of 10 most-stolen vehicles in Denver released as car thefts keep rising

The other counties, excluding Gilpin, all saw double-digit increases in the first quarter of 2022 from the last quarter of 2021, according to C-MATT:

  • Adams: 23% increase (1,685 thefts)
  • Broomfield: 60% (103)
  • Arapahoe: 17% (1,931)
  • Denver: 19% (3,290)
  • Jefferson: 23% (1,260)

Gilpin County saw 5 thefts in the first quarter, the report says.

Credit: Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force
Vehicle theft increases between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2022.

The number of thefts per 100,000 people in the Denver metro area also increased, to 283, in the first quarter. Statewide, the per capita theft rate was 187, the report says.

Of all the vehicles stolen in the Denver metro area and statewide in the first quarter, 93% were recovered within 30 days. About half of the recovered vehicles were found in a different county from the one in which they were stolen, C-MATT says.

The trend toward more thefts started in the last three weeks of March 2020, right around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that, in 2019, there was a slight decrease in total vehicle thefts, C-MATT says.

The Denver metro area saw a 162% increase in vehicle thefts between the first quarters of 2020 and 2022, according to the report.

Here are the number of vehicles stolen in the Denver metro area per quarter between March 2020 and March 2022, according to the report:

  • January-March 2020: 3,215
  • April-June 2020: 4,763
  • July-September 2020: 5,783
  • October-December 2020: 6,517
  • January-March 2021: 6,791
  • April-June 2021: 6,624
  • July-September 2021: 6,994
  • October-December 2021: 7,030
  • January-March 2022: 8,416

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