DENVER (CBS4)– Crime rates in Denver, across the state and around the country, have been rising during the COVID-19 pandemic, and nobody knows that better than David Reiss. Reiss, 20, a junior at the University of Denver had his 2018 Kia Sportage stolen from his apartment southeast Denver apartment garage in October.
“I didn’t know what to think,” said Reiss. “I had never experienced this before.”
But it would not be long before he experienced it again.
He liked his Kia so he bought another used 2018 Kia Sportage in November. Five days later, that car was stolen from the parking garage where he works.
“And then my heart drops. ‘Oh no,’” said Reiss, “This can’t happen again.”
“It’s so statistically unlikely you’re going to get your car stolen twice in one month,” said Reiss.
“I think part of my mistake was buying the same car, I should have gotten a different one.”
While Reiss’ previous experience is unusual, a growing number of Kia owners in Denver, and car owners in general, have seen their cars stolen during the pandemic.
Through October, stolen car rates have risen 50.5% compared to the same time period in 2019. According to the City of Denver, crime statistics, stolen cars went from 4,248 in 2019 to 6,394 this year.
Denver Police Commander Rick Kyle said, “There’s economic challenges going on right now and traditionally when there’s economic challenges, crime does go on the rise, also.”
He said another contributing factor is with so many people working from home, their vehicles are sitting parked for extended periods of time.
The problem has been particularly bad for Kia owners. In January of this year, 8 Kias were stolen in Denver. That rose to 13 in February and has been steadily increasing ever since. In November, 74 Kias were reported stolen.
Kyle said they are one of the top 10 stolen brands in Denver because they are easy to steal and easy to start. The police commander said about 80% of vehicles stolen in Denver are recovered within a few days, but neither of Reiss’ stolen Kias have turned up.
He said he is now driving a rental car and if he buys another vehicle, it will likely be a VW or a car with a push button starter.
“I’m thinking I don’t want to buy another car. I’m worried what’s going to happen to the third one,” said Reiss.
Police offer these tips to protect your car from being stolen:
- Park in a secure, well-lighted area if possible
- Make sure your doors are locked
- Consider using an anti-theft device like a club
- Car alarms help
- Join a neighborhood watch
- Don’t leave valuables in your parked car
The Denver Police Department says the other most stolen vehicles in order are:
- Ford pickup trucks
- Chevy pickup trucks