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Recent auto theft statistics show us crime now rarely stops with a stolen car, and encouraging citizens to do their part to help prevent auto theft is an important step in making Colorado safer.
Colorado State Patrol Chief Colonel Scott Hernandez

Colorado Auto Theft

Colorado's thefts increased from 21,299 in 2019 to 19,162 thefts in 2020. Driving the increase in thefts in the state is the Denver Metropolitan Statistical Area. Thefts in the region increased by more than 7,000 rising from 14,093 in 2019 to 21,112 in 2020

Using the FBI's average 2019 valuation of $8,886 per stolen vehicle, this amounts to an estimated $189 million in losses in Colorado during 2019.

According to NICB there were 880,595 vehicle thefts nationwide in 2020, about one vehicle stolen every 36 seconds, up from 794,019 in 2019.

Auto Theft Victim Impact

Auto theft is considered a property crime; however, stolen vehicles are often used to commit other crimes. Drug use connected with auto theft is very common in Colorado. There is a financial impact on the victim as well as potential danger associated with a recovered stolen vehicle. Victims are encouraged to check their cars for damage, illegal drugs, drug paraphernlia, and other contraband. The victim should carefully vaccum the vehicle and wipe down the interior surfaces with a disinfectant. If the vehicle was stolen with the key and they key was not recovered, a new ignition switch should be installed. Lockes on the vicitim's home, office and other buildings should be changed if the thief had access to their keys. Garage door codes should be changed and enhanced security measures should be taken at him, since the thief knows where the victim lifes.

In 2019 there were 16,844 recovered vehicles where the vehicle was stolen during 2019. Of these vehicles, 39 percent of the vehicles were recovered within one week from the date of theft.

Puffer Vehicles

The Stolen Vehicle Database Repoitory was searched for any notification that may lend indentification to a vehicle theft where, at the time of theft, the vehicle was unattended and left running. These thefts would be considered "Puffer Thefts" by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA). The database resulted in a total of 229 thefts where a notation was made that the vehicle was a puffer. This is a 15.1 percent increase over 2016's 199. In addition, there were 669 vehicle theft records identifying that keys were left in or with the vehicle at the time of the theft. This is a 137.2 perecent increase over 2016's 282. These vehicle records attribute to 4.6 percent fo all vehicle thefts in 2017 versus 2.67 perecent in 2016. These numbers do not include victims of vehicle theft who do not report they left their vehicle unattended and running.

Colorado's Top Ten Stolen Vehicles in 2020 (NICB)

  1. Ford Pick-Up (Full Size) - 2,231 Thefts
  2. Chevrolet Pick-Up (Full Size) - 1,487 Thefts
  3. Honda Civic - 1,002 Thefts
  4. Honda Accord - 643 Thefts
  5. Dodge Pick-Up (Full Size) - 758 Thefts
  6. GMC Pick-Up (Full Size) - 657 Thefts
  7. Jeep Cherokee/Grands Cherokee - 620 Thefts
  8. Hyundai Sonata - 492 Thefts
  9. Honda CR-V- 441 Thefts
  10. Kia Motors Corporation Optima - 392 Thefts

Colorado Auto Theft by Reporting Agency in 2019 (2019 ATICC Annual Public Report)

Reporting Agency Thefts Weekly Average
Denver 5,101 98
Colorado Springs 2,634 51
Aurora 2,182 42
Adams County 818 16
Lakewood 752 14
Pueblo 651 13
Westminster 543 10

Highest theft days were Fridays and Mondays.

Colorado Auto Theft by Location in 2020 (NICB)

Each year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) studies Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), or major metropolitan areas to compare the number of vehicle thefts per 100,000 people.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) 2020 Rank
out of 380 MSAs
Total Thefts
2020 Auto Theft Rate
per 100,000 people
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metro 3 21,112 724.46
Pueblo 7 1,023 602.39
Colorado Springs 61 2.688 356.57
Greeley 73 1,110 329.36
Grand Junction 95 449 288.55
Boulder 115 896 273.86
Fort Collins 248 570 158.15

Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority

Efforts to combat auto theft play a major role in reducing the number of stolen vehicles. The Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA) awards state grants that fund law enforcement, prosecution, training and public awareness activities targeting auto theft. Click here for more information about the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority.

Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT)

Together with law enforcement agencies, insurance companies and community partners, the newly formed Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) coalition is working to put the brakes on auto theft. CAAT has launched "Lockdown," a statewide auto theft prevention initiative to educate the public on what they can do to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of auto theft.

Logon to CAAT's auto theft prevention website:, for current auto theft trends, victim support, testimonials and current coalition efforts to prevent auto theft in Colorado.

Additional Information