Denver Airport is experiencing a surge in stolen vehicles and it isn’t clear why. But whatever the root cause, keep in mind the elevated risk of finding your car vandalized or missing after your next trip.
Stolen Vehicles A Growing Problem At Denver Airport
The Denver Post notes that stolen vehicle crime is up 125% in 2021 over 2020, with an average of 16 vehicles stolen per month from airport-affiliated parking lots. This has far outpaced the growth in stolen vehicles in the metro Denver area as a whole.
Certainly there is a degree of predictability as the surge in vehicle thefts correlates to the surge in domestic air travel, but it is more than that. Denver Police note that thieves have taken advantage of the pandemic by taking advantage of obligatory masks and emptier parking lots to strike with more impunity. 2020 carjackings, despite the precipitous drop in air traffic, were up 24% over 2019 levels.
Even when police are able to recover the vehicle, damage may be irreversible. Take Terri Finney, for example. She left her Audi A4 in a covered parking structure ahead of a two-day trip. When she returned, it was gone.
It only took the police a few days to locate it, but the thieves had “smoked so much meth in it that it was totaled.” Her insurance cut her a check, but it was insufficient to replace the car, leaving her forced to come up with $11,000 out-of-pocket. She also lost many personal effects lefts inside the vehicle that were not recovered.
An airport official blamed airport passengers for not properly locking their vehicle, but also noted:
“The issue is that they have so much land and they have so many vehicles, there’s really no way that anybody can patrol that enough. I think they’ve done a really good job at putting in additional security measures.”
Not enough, apparently.
Thieves target mid-range cars, not fancy ones, including:
- Ford Pickups
- Honda Civics + Accords + CRVs
- Chevy Pickups
- Toyota Camrys + Corollas
- Nissan Altima
- Dodge Pickups
- GMC Pickups
Typically, they are used for a few days to commit other crimes, then dumped or sold.
The thieves who stole Finney’s car, both in their early 20’s, were arrested and given probation, only to be arrested again days later for another carjacking. Maybe that is part of the problem…
An added risk of traveling from Denver: you may return to find your car stolen. While reports of stolen vehicles are rising across the country, Denver Airport–with its sprawling landscape–is a prime target. Be careful!
(H/T: C Boarding Group // image: Denver Airport)