Colorado is a leading hotspot for car thefts, the third highest in the nation. The Denver Metro area has been heavily hit with motor vehicle thefts, reported by CBS Channel 4. The news outlet revealed that about 3,000 car thefts are reported in the state monthly, with Denver having 73% of the state’s total car thefts, a 120% increase over the prior year. Broomfield County has had a staggering 352% increase in car thefts, with Douglas County a 164% increase, and Jefferson County up 135%.
A recent report from the Common Sense Institute entitled, “The Colorado Crime Wave” reveals that crimes have skyrocketed in Colorado during the pandemic. With the restrictions imposed on the population, the factors contributing to crime became worse. The reluctance by the courts to incarcerate the convicted during the pandemic is believed to have played a role in the increase.
Car Theft Hotspots in Colorado
Denver may be losing its reputation as a safe city, with motor vehicle thefts continuing to rise in 2022, at currently at an average of almost 40 per day, as reported by the Denver Post. The neighborhoods with the highest car theft rates include Globeville, Northeast Park Hill, Goldsmith, Auraria, and Central Park.
Boulder has experienced a significant uptick in auto thefts, with 396 vehicles stolen in 2020, at a rate of about 274 per every 100,000 residents.
According to dailycamera.com, vehicle break-ins and car thefts have risen dramatically in Broomfield during the pandemic. Business owners are responding to the increased risk by building fences, installing lighting, and the police have increased patrols. Law enforcement recommends that residents remove valuables from their vehicles, leaving home exterior lights on, and setting alarms.
Colorado Springs has also been hit hard by a car theft crime wave, with 2688 car thefts in 2020, at an average of about 356 vehicles stolen for every 100,000 residents, as reported by RMIIA (Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association).
Pueblo ranks as #4 nationally for car thefts in the USA, with 701 stolen vehicles for every 100,000 people, coming in at 3.27 times higher than the national average, as reported by KRDO.
Penalties for Car Theft in Colorado
First Degree Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft, often called grand theft auto, occurs when a person obtains or exercises control over the motor vehicle of another without authorization or by threat or deception. It is accompanied by one of many aggravating factors and often has harsh penalties imposed in a conviction. Effective March 1, 2022, the Colorado Legislature made changes to the statutes regarding Motor Vehicle Theft. The presumptive penalties for First-Degree Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft are as follows:
- Vehicle worth over $100,000, or if the defendant has twice previously been convicted or adjudicated of charges separately brought, and tried either in this state or elsewhere of an offense involving theft of a motor vehicle: A Class 3 Four to twelve years incarceration in a state prison, 5 years mandatory parole, and fines from $3,000 to $750,000.
- Vehicle worth between $20,000 and $100,000: A Class 4 Two to six years incarceration in a state prison, 3 years mandatory parole, and fines between $2,000 and $500,000.
- Vehicle worth $20,000 or less: A Class 5 One to three years incarceration in a state prison with 2 years mandatory parole, along with fines from $1,000 to $100,000.
Second-Degree Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft occurs when a person knowingly obtains or exercises control over the motor vehicle of another without authorization, or by threat or deception, and if none of the aggravating factors of First Degree Motor Vehicle Theft are present. For vehicles valued at less than $1,000, a misdemeanor may be filed, unless the accused has a criminal record for a similar offense. The presumptive penalties for Second Degree Motor Vehicle Theft are as follows:
- Vehicle worth $20,000 or higher: A Class 5 felony. One to three years incarceration in a state prison with 2 years mandatory parole, along with fines from $1,000 to $100,000.
- Vehicle worth between $2,000 and $20,000: A Class 6 felony. One to one and a half years in a state prison facility with a mandatory parole of 1 year, along with fines from $1,000 to $100,000.
- Vehicle worth less than $2,000: A Class 1 misdemeanor. Six to eighteen months in a county jail, fines from $500 to $5,000.
Charged with Auto Theft? You Need an Attorney You Can Trust.
If you are accused of car theft, nothing is more important than the quality, experience, and dedication of your criminal attorney. The outcome of your case will, in large part, be the result of the actions your lawyer takes on your behalf.
At Welsh Law, LLC, our legal team is knowledgeable, trustworthy, professional, and we actually care about our clients – and always go the distance for them. For us, it isn’t about making money, but a passion to practice law and represent people. Call (720) 836-1777 for a free consultation about your case.