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Colorado sees big drop in car thefts in first part of 2023

Statewide data shows thefts dropped 21% in January through March when compared to the same time last year.

COLORADO, USA — It's certainly not time to let your guard down, but the number of auto thefts reported in the first quarter of 2023 declined statewide by about 21% when compared to the same time last year.

For the seven counties in the Denver metro area, the decline was about 23% for Quarter 1 of last year, according to data.

The early numbers for this year are similar to numbers from 2020, according to the Colorado State Patrol (CSP). While it is good news, CSP's Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA) unit reminded everyone that the decline does not mean it's time to relax.

>The video above is a report about repeat car theft offenders.

“The noticeable decline of auto theft is a testament to the resiliency of our citizens and the collaborative effort of many law enforcement and key partners across the state,” said Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol.

“However, now is no time to rest and relax your vehicle securities. CATPA and the Colorado State Patrol ask you to continue to stay in this fight to reduce auto theft and overall crime in your communities.”

Auto theft often sets off a chain reaction of other crimes, according to CSP. Those often include burglaries, smash and grab robberies, reckless driving, eluding, drug crimes, weapons offenses and many times crimes against persons that endanger all of Colorado.

According to data provided by the Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force , there were 8,884 auto thefts reported in January through March – a drop of 21% from 2022, which had 11,242 auto thefts over the same period.

Data from the task force shows that in the Denver metro area, thefts dropped the most in Jefferson County which saw a 31% decline followed by Arapahoe County with a 24% decline.

Task force data for all counties in the Denver metro area for Quarter 1:

  • Adams County: 1,394 thefts (18% decline from 2022)
  • Arapahoe County: 1,482 thefts (24% decline)
  • Broomfield County: 83 thefts (22% decline)
  • Denver: 2,578 thefts (22% decline)
  • Douglas County: 153 thefts (6% increase)
  • Gilpin County: 5 thefts (same as in 2022)
  • Jefferson County: 871 thefts (31% decline)
  • Denver metro area: 6,566 thefts (23% decline)
  • Statewide: 8,884 thefts (21% decline)

Thefts in the Denver metro area are still more than twice as high as they were pre-pandemic, in the first quarter of 2020 – 3,195 auto thefts in 2020, compared with 6,566 in 2023. But thefts saw a significant decline from 2022 Quarter 1, when the Denver metro area saw 8,500 auto thefts.

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