Last year, between January 1st and March 31st there were 3,110 cars stolen throughout the Denver metro area. That’s a lot of auto theft — more than the area had ever seen before — but compared to this year’s numbers that seems small time. Between the Coronavirus and all of the other social upheavals that 2020 brought us, we’re living in a different world. And in this new one, Denver’s car thieves have stepped up their game.

So far this year, there have been 6,669 cars stolen in the Denver metro area alone — an increase of 114% over the same quarter-year period as last year. That haul is worth a grand total of $59,260,734 in stolen property, according to data provided by Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority’s Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force. The most common cars being stolen are Chevy Silverado’s, and newer models of Kia’s and Hyundai’s.

“If trends continue as they are, we’ll see another more than 40% increase in auto theft in the Denver metro area for 2021,” Mike Greenwell, head of auto theft task force, told the Denver Post.

That’s not exactly comforting to hear from the city’s Police, but it’s not exactly surprising either. Crime is up in 2021 almost across the board in Denver: Violent crimes are up 7.4%, property crimes are up 47.4%, burglaries are up 32.5% and serious assaults are up by 16.2%. Times are getting tough out there, joblessness is escalating, homelessness is on the rise and people everywhere are suffering from serious COVID-fatigue. And many are resorting to crime.

Fortunately for most of the victims of Denver’s grand theft auto problem, 6,098 of the 6,669 stolen cars were eventually found. Unfortunately for the victims, most of those cars were completely covered in meth residue, totally trashed and badly damaged upon recovery. These cars aren’t being sent to chop shops to be stripped and sold for parts — by in large they’re being stolen for joyrides, to commit other crimes, or for the equipment and tools that are inside them.

So lock your doors and make sure your car alarms are activated, Denver! Maybe even invest in a steering wheel lock if you’re driving a Chevy Silverado, a new Kia or Hyundai. And definitely don’t leave your car running in your driveway while you get ready for work. Vehicle theft is getting wild out there — this is no time to tempt fate with idling engines.