Would you let Denver Police have access to your car’s GPS System?

DPD is launching a new program to quickly locate stolen vehicles.
4 min. read
An example of the enrollee stickers used in the DenverTrack program, designed to locate stolen vehicles with in the city.
Tony Gorman/CPR News

The Denver Police Department has introduced a new program that can track stolen vehicles using GPS data. It's called DenverTrack, and officials say it's part of their latest effort to reduce auto thefts in the city.

Owners can voluntarily enroll their vehicle in the program. If their car is ever stolen, it would give Denver Police consent to use GPS data to quickly find their car, return the vehicle and arrest the suspect.

Owners also receive two stickers that identify the vehicle as part of DPD's DenverTrack program. One is placed on the lower right-hand corner of the driver's door. The other is placed on the windshield of the car facing the driver. Police say this will deter car thefts. However, there is also an option for those who don't want the stickers.

"This isn't going to be perfect. But this is something that the community members can do to make their car less likely to be stolen," Lt. Ryan Harris said. "In addition to deterring crime, we're going to make arrests on a more frequent basis."

Denver Police Lt. Ryan Harris explains the DenverTrack program, designed to locate stolen vehicles with in the city.
Tony Gorman/CPR News

When asked if the information registered would be used to find the owner if they were ever suspected of a crime or had a warrant out for their arrest, Harris said the data would only be used when a vehicle is reported stolen.

"If your car is not reported stolen, we will not, we cannot track you," Harris said. "The person that holds that information about where that location is the vehicle owner. What we're saying when we ask for consent is we're asking for your consent for you to give us that information. We don't hold that information."

DenverTrack is modeled after the Cook County, Illinois,  Sheriff's Office's Tracked Vehicle Partnership.

Colorado continually ranks #1 in auto thefts in the country, according to the conservative leaning Common Sense Institute. In 2022, nearly 14,900 vehicles were reported stolen in Denver. Officers arrested 1,484 suspects related to the crime during that time.

When enrolling their vehicle, owners would give the year, make, model, VIN number, license plate, state of issuance and the vehicle's tracking ability. Enrollment also provides consent to DPD when the vehicle is stolen.

"We want to get that consent on the front end of that steal. And that's for a couple reasons," Harris said. "One, to ensure that consent is not stale, to ensure that we have the registered owner, and so that we get that as soon as that car is stolen."

While registration is free, there might be a manufacturer fee for your GPS system.

Harris hopes the program will also prevent owners from searching for their vehicles when they are stolen.

"What this program does is provide us with a safe alternative to finding your own car," Harris said. "What we need to get across is do not go find your own stolen car. Work with the police department, and we will help you safely recover your vehicle."

From March 6 to March 10, vehicle owners can visit any DPD district station between 4-7 p.m. to receive assistance from Denver Police volunteers in registering for the program. In addition to enrollment, drivers can pick up a catalytic converter etching kit to deter catalytic converter thefts. The kit includes a sticker that is placed over the converter. A low-acid level paint is used to inscribe a number onto the converter. That number must be registered online to a third-party vendor.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that DPD would require state of issuance not state of insurance to enroll a vehicle in the program.

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