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Data: Denver Police; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic is generating its own type of crime wave in Denver.

The state of play: The majority of the 15 most common crimes in the city experienced increases in 2020 compared with the prior year, an Axios review of city data shows.

Details: The largest spikes included property crimes with vehicles being a top target for theft, break-ins, damage and stolen parts.

  • In 2020, Denver experienced a 1,600% spike in theft of catalytic converters, an emission-controlling device located under your car that contains valuable metals.
  • Car thefts in the Denver area jumped nearly 55% last year, compared to 2019, according to the Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force.

What's happening: It's difficult to draw conclusions from year to year when it comes to crime rates, but research shows crime traditionally increases during hard economic times.

  • Denver police spokesperson Doug Schepman told Axios that "pandemic-related emotional stressors and financial insecurity are contributing to increases in crime."

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Feb 22, 2021 - Axios Denver

Denver breaks from Colorado's COVID-19 vaccine plan

Gov. Jared Polis, front, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, left, announce COVID-19 restrictions in November. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver is preparing to play a bigger role in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and is setting its own priority list rather than follow the dictates from Gov. Jared Polis.

The big picture: Mayors across the country are demanding a direct supply of the vaccine, which currently is being allocated through states. Hancock raised the issue on a recent call with Vice President Kamala Harris and again in a letter Thursday to the Biden administration.

What $500K gets you in Denver's real estate market

Courtesy of Michael Murray at Ascent Multifamily Solutions

The average home close price in Denver was $550K in January, so Axios wanted to see what you can get below that price point in the area's real estate market.

Here’s a comparison of three homes that recently sold for around $500K in different Denver neighborhoods.

Scoop: Denver's mayor shifts strategy on homeless sweeps

A man experiencing homelessness argues with a Denver police officer during an encampment sweep. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver is taking law enforcement out of the equation when it comes to breaking up homeless encampments, Mayor Michael Hancock tells Axios.

Why it matters: "We have seen through our research across the country that, obviously, it heightens tensions when police move in first," Hancock said in an interview.