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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

Auto Theft Prevention TipsIn 2017, a total of 19,488 motor vehicle thefts were reported by law enforcement agencies in Colorado according to the Colorado Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC). This is compaired to the 18,047 thefts that were reported during 2016. Colorado experienced an 8 percent increase in motor vehicle thefts in 2017. Over the last couple of years, Colorado has still observed an over theft increase, but the rate of increase has been lessening each year.

Using the FBI's average 2017 valuation of $7,680 per stolen vehicle, this amounts to an estimated $149 million in losses in Colorado during 2017. Compared to 2016, this equates to an additional $23.3 million in auto losses.

The vehicle style most commonly stolen statewide was passenger cars (43.7%); followed by sport utility vehicles (22.1%); pickup trucks (16.8%); and motorcycles (5.7%). Source: 2017 ATICC Annual Public Report

The FBI reports there were an estimated 765,484 motor vehicle thefts nationwide in 2016. The estimated number of motor vehicle thefts increased 7.4 percent in 2016 when compared with the 2015 estimates and 5.8 percent when compared with the 2012 estimates, and dropped 30.4 percent when compared with the 2007 estimates. Source: FBI 2016 Crime in the USA report.

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 2017 there were 17,756 recovered vehicles where the vehicle was stolen during 2017. Of these vehicles, 45 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 2017 (2017 ATICC Annual Public Report)

  1. Honda Civic*
  2. Honda Accord*
  3. Subaru Impreza
  4. Ford F-250
  5. Chevrolet Silverado (full size)
  6. Jeep Cherokee
  7. Ford F-350
  8. Ford F-150
  9. Dodge Ram Pickup
  10. Subaru Legacy

Honda Civic and Accord account for 12.9 percent of all vehicle thefts in 2017, which is an increase of 0.3 percent from 2016. Source: 2017 ATICC Annual Public Report

Colorado Auto Theft by Reporting Agency in 2017 (2017 ATICC Annual Public Report)

Reporting Agency Thefts Weekly Average
Denver 5,624 108
Colorado Springs 2,086 40
Aurora 2,016 39
Pueblo 1,149 22
Lakewood 922 18
Thornton 694 13
Westminster 674 13

Highest theft days were Fridays and Mondays.

Colorado Auto Theft by Location in 2016 (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) 2016 Rank
out of 380 MSAs
Total Thefts
2016 Auto Theft Rate
per 100,000 people
Pueblo 2 1,325 899.43
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 26 13,278 538.69
Colorado Springs 74 2,347 329.48
Greeley 107 759 276.35
Boulder 211 487 174.21
Grand Junction 217 243 164.69
Fort Collins 274 404 121.11

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