Dec 14, 2021 - News

Car theft in Denver — and across Colorado — is among worst in U.S.

Vehicle thefts and thefts from vehicles
Data:; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

It's no secret that car theft in Denver has run rampant lately, but a recent study shows the Mile High City's vehicular robbery rate outpaces that of any other major U.S. city examined in the report.

Details: Denver led the list of 18 cities analyzed, with 5,139 incidents involving a car — from auto theft to vehicle break-ins — per 100,000 residents last year, according to research from, a car insurance comparison site.

  • Denver police recorded nearly 37,000 vehicle incidents in 2020.

Of note: The findings are bolstered by a new report from the Common Sense Institute that found Colorado had the highest auto theft rate of all states, and that only the city of Washington, D.C. was higher.

State of play: This year is expected to set a new record for vehicle thefts in the Denver metro area — and across Colorado, CBS4 reports. The state has seen at least 26,783 vehicle thefts from the start of 2021 through September, per the news station.

  • In 2020, car thefts throughout Colorado jumped by 37%, to a total of 27,664.

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

The big picture: Nationwide, the pandemic has played a key role in fueling the sharpest increase in auto thefts in more than a decade, CNBC reports.

  • Hotspots include San Francisco, which had the second-highest rate in's analysis, followed by Philadelphia, Austin and Washington, D.C.

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.


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