In early May, my car was stolen from a parking lot. Two hours after I left it outside of a park, it was gone. Far too many Coloradans are familiar with this experience.
When the police arrived, they asked what else I had in my car. Fortunately, I had left a backpack with my laptop computer in it. The officer asked if I could use the “FindMy” app on my phone to get the location. When I pulled it up, my computer pinged in at a storage unit roughly 15 minutes away in Aurora.
The officers were able to track down my car through impressive detective work I won’t recount, but it was returned to me within two hours. It’s likely that the person who stole my car was working with a ring of car thieves who were hiding stolen vehicles in the storage unit. They had hammered my ignition and lock in order to steal the car, and drive it off.
While I am one of the lucky Coloradans who got my car back mostly intact, a record number of families are having their own experience with crime and stolen cars. The Denver murder rate is already exceeding 2021 numbers. Our state is No. 1 in the nation for auto theft. We’re No. 1 in the nation for bank robberies. Colorado is No. 2 for fentanyl overdose deaths. Violent crime and property crime is on the rise across our state – and it’s disproportionately rising compared to the nation.
This isn’t all by chance. Rising crime is tied to actual policy, passed by the party in charge of our state – the Democrats. SB19-143 is one example of a new law that increased the number of criminals released to go re-commit their offenses. Police will tell anyone who asks how many car thieves are constant repeat offenders who suffer no real consequences.
Recently, Attorney General Phil Weiser decided to run a meme campaign on social media telling people what to do about auto theft. His ideas? “Avoid leaving documents with your address in glove box.” “Buy comprehensive insurance that covers stolen vehicles.” Wow, thank you, professor. No person in Colorado has ever thought about buying insurance or leaving documents at home. And neither of these “ideas” are solutions to auto theft. Neither prevent our cars from getting stolen.
What really matters is that when Weiser had the chance to support better criminal laws in Colorado, he failed to do so. In fact, he has been on the wrong side of auto-theft law, the wrong side of fentanyl law and on the wrong side of criminal law in general. Since he’s never prosecuted a criminal case in his life, it makes sense. He doesn’t get it, and he’s unqualified to serve as Colorado’s top law enforcement officer. At a recent forum, Weiser said that once someone steals “three or four cars” in “say, three months” it would be time for consequences. No wonder Colorado is No. 1 in auto theft.
If you think crime hasn’t come to your neighborhood yet, unfortunately, it’s on the way. Unless we change who’s in charge, we aren’t going to change results. Violent, rising crime is here to stay unless we elect different leaders. Let’s start with the attorney general’s office, and elect a qualified prosecutor to get the job done and build a safer Colorado for all of us.
Kristi Burton Brown is the chairwoman of the Colorado Republican Party.