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Thieves target Jeeps as Colorado auto thefts spike

9:24 PM, Aug 30, 2011   |    comments
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According to statistics from Coloradans Against Auto Theft, the 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokees is most stolen SUV in Colorado. The 1996 Honda Accord is the most stolen car. The 2001 Dodge Ram is the most stolen truck.

Carole Walker, co-chair of Coloradans Against Auto Theft, says thieves tend to target older models because they are easier to break into. Walker says it takes 47 seconds for someone to steal your car.

"During the summer months we've seen a rash in the number of Jeep thefts," Walker said. "They are easier to break into. They're also targeted for parts, so they are popular among thieves."

Aurora resident Jovan Williams says her 2005 Jeep Wrangler was stolen last week.

"It was heartbreaking," Williams said. "I just paid it off."

Williams says her husband changed their insurance policy just two weeks earlier and didn't realize car theft was no longer covered.

Then this week, Williams says she spotted someone else in her Jeep.

"I just glanced over to the right and there it is in the parking lot," Williams said. "And I was like, 'This is my car, you need to get out.' And this whole time I'm on the phone with the police."

Williams tried stopping the man, but he drove away. Aurora Police are investigating.

Walker says car thieves can also prey on your personal information.

"Not only are they stealing your car, they also can steal your identity," Walker said. "They also can then show up at your house and know where you live."

Williams fears the man who stole her Jeep could easily track her down.

"My address, the place I work, and where I bank," Williams said. "I feel absolutely violated."

Walker says car theft in Colorado has been cut almost in half over the past five years. However, she says there is an increased trend of criminals stealing cars and using them to commit other, more violent crimes.

"Less joy riding and more organized crime," Walker said. "A homicide, a bank robbery, or a drug-related crime is going to involve a car theft most of the time."

According to statistics from Coloradans Against Auto Theft:

- 11,114 vehicles were stolen in Colorado in 2010, a 56 percent decrease from 2005.
- Car theft losses totaled $72.3 million, or $6,505 per stolen vehicle.
- Summer is the hottest season for auto theft, with July and August ranking as the highest auto theft months of the year.
- 50 percent of all stolen cars have the keys in them.
- Cars are often stolen mostly for parts.
- The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield area ranks first in the state for auto thefts, followed by Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Greeley, Fort Collins-Loveland, Boulder and Grand Junction.
- The FBI says a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States every 40 seconds.

Colorado's Top Ten Stolen Vehicles in 2010:
1. 1996 Honda Accord
2. 2000 Honda Civic
3. 1995 Acura Integra
4. 2001 Dodge Ram
5. 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee
6. 1990 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
7. 1998 Jeep Cherokee
8. 2004 Ford F-150 Series/Pickup
9. 1989 Toyota Camry
10. 2002 Ford Explorer

If you're looking for a vehicle that car thieves aren't looking for, the Highway Loss Data Institute has a list of the cars thieves most avoid. They include the Audi A6 all wheel drive, the 2009 and 2010 Mercury Mariner, the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2009 and 2010 Volkswagen CC.

For tips on how to prevent car theft, visit www.lockdownyourcar.org.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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