Assuming you don't have someone take you to - and drop you off at - Denver International Airport for a flight, you probably have a favorite parking lot where you leave your car when you travel.

Some people like to park in the garages right by the terminal at DIA, some like to park in the official DIA economy lots. The super thrifty -  those who like to arrive really early and are willing to take a bus ride - usually park at one of the off-site, privately owned lots scattered about along Peña Boulevard, on Tower Road or in the surrounding areas around DIA.

Obviously the closer to the airport you park, the more your daily parking rate costs. The further away you park, it's definitely cheaper. But is it safer?

In August 2023 at one single lot alone, four cars were stolen, six others were broken into and the Commerce City Police Department responded to two other calls for suspicious activity, according to Denver7.

Canopy Airport Parking on Tower Road just north of Peña Blvd. boasts off-site parking that starts at just $13.95 per day, less than half what it costs to park in the terminal garages at the airport. But these vehicles were stolen just from their lot alone, an issue that has been ongoing at the site for quite some time, with broken lot lights, a lack of security cameras and shockingly, a lack of actual security guard presence. The Commerce City PD routinely patrols the lot as a result of the ongoing issues with theft there.

It may seem like you would want to avoid that lot - that is - until you find out that the "official" garages and lots, owned and operated by the City of Denver and Denver International Airport, had nearly 400 car thefts in the first half of this year alone. That number doesn't factor in thousands more vehicles that were broken into and stolen from but left behind, or catalytic converters being stolen from travelers who come home to a rude awakening, thinking their car was safe while they were sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere.

That being said, according to DIA, more than 7 million vehicles were parked in official DIA spaces in the same time frame, so at least the odds are in your favor. The airport and city, for their parts, are examining more ways to beef up security measures and deter both vehicle break-ins and theft of the vehicles themselves.

So is your car safe parked at Denver International Airport or any of its surrounding, off-site privately owned lots? Just like everything else in life... the odds may be in your favor, but there's a reason there's signs everywhere that you park at your own risk and nobody will be responsible for anything that happens to your car or your belongings in it.

Your safest - and by far the cheapest - bet would be to take an Uber or cash in a favor from a friend and hitch a ride to and from the airport, so you can sip that marg with 100% confidence nothing will happen to your car while it waits for you at the airport.

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