Motorcycles are popular with riders seeking affordable transportation options and the thrill of the open road. But they can also be attractive targets for thieves. The good news is that motorcycle thefts saw a decline in 2017 and 2018 after an uptick in the previous two years.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) annual motorcycle thefts report, in 2018 motorcycle thefts were down by six percent with a total of 41,674 motorcycles reported stolen compared with 44,268 in 2017. About 44 percent of the motorcycles stolen in 2018 were recovered.
In general, motorcycle thefts are a seasonal crime related to warmer months, with 10 percent or more of thefts from the yearly total occurring in May, June, July, August, September, and October.
According to the report the top 10 states for motorcycle thefts in 2018 were:
- California (7,035)
- Florida (4,279)
- Texas (3,073)
- New York (1,777)
- South Carolina (1,743)
- North Carolina (1,466)
- Indiana (1,229)
- Missouri (1,194)
- Georgia (1,174) and
- Colorado (1,109)
The top 10 cities for motorcycle thefts in 2018 were:
- New York (1,310)
- Los Angeles (628)
- Miami (595)
- Las Vegas (540)
- San Diego (527)
- San Francisco (520)
- Houston (460)
- Philadelphia (404)
- Austin (329) and
- San Jose (322)
The top 10 most stolen motorcycles in 2018 by manufacturer were:
- American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (8,260 thefts)
- Yamaha Motor Corporation (6,655)
- American Suzuki Motor Corporation (4,882)
- Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (4,861)
- Harley-Davidson, Inc. (4,769)
- Taotao Group Co. Ltd (1,851)
- KTM Sportmotorcycle AG (780)
- Genuine Cycle (515)
- Ducati Motor Holding (455)
- Kymco U.S.A., Inc. (413)
The NICB offers the following fraud and theft prevention tips:
- Purchase your motorcycle from reputable manufacturers or dealers. When purchasing from a private party, avoid custom or “assembled vehicle.”
- Take the motorcycle to a local dealership for inspection before purchasing.
- When purchasing a motorcycle from a private party, consider investing in a vehicle history report. Also, go to your local law enforcement station to make the transaction. Many law enforcement agencies have “safe areas” to complete purchases between private parties.
- When selling your bike, don’t turn over the title until the funds (check or money order) have cleared the bank.
- Use common sense; park in well-lit areas, lock your ignition, and remove your keys.
- Remove the key and lock your motorcycle even if stored in a garage. You may want to invest in additional aftermarket lock(s) and even a theft-deterrent system with tracking capabilities (e.g. GPS) for your motorcycle.
- Don’t store your title in your motorcycle’s storage compartment.
- Place unique markings on your motorcycle and take photos of them. If your bike is stolen, you can use these markings to identify your property.
The I.I.I. has Facts & Statistics on auto theft here.