According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), motorcycle theft is at its lowest in four years. In 2019, the NICB says that 40,380 motorcycles were stolen.
Although that’s a lot of stolen motorcycles, the good news is that the total number stolen continues to drop. In fact, motorcycle theft has been on the decrease since 2016. In that year, owners lost 46,467 motorcycles to theft. Compared to the number of bikes stolen in 2019, that’s a 12 percent drop.
Theft and “warm weather”
As you might imagine, most of the thefts occur in the “warm” weather states. California wins the award for most thefts with 6,913 thefts. Next is Florida, with 4,085 thefts, and Texas with 3,165 thefts.
Also going along with the warm weather is when most of the motorcycles are stolen. July, August, and September are the months with the highest motorcycle theft rates.
Make of stolen bikes
Interestingly, Honda’s bikes are the most stolen with 8,122. Yamaha comes next with 6,495, and Harley claims the last spot on the theft podium with 4,737. Bringing up the top 5 most stolen machines is Suzuki, with 4,686 and Kawasaki with 4,641.
Those stats would seem to indicate that “premium” more expensive bikes aren’t the first choice of moto thieves. Of the top 5 stolen, only Harley-Davidson made the cut. Harley sells the most motorcycles by a large percentage in the USA. So it’s somewhat odd that it comes in third on the list. Do the types of bikes being stolen say something about the thieves?
Another potential “bright spot” is the stolen bike recovery rate. In 2019, nearly half of the machines stolen have been recovered (actual 46 percent). But the statistic doesn’t say what percentage of recovered bikes are “write-offs”, damaged or undamaged. So we have to take the recovery rate with a grain of salt.
Although motorcycle thefts are on the decline, the NICB says it’s still crucial for motorcycle owners to be vigilant and take steps to help prevent motorcycle theft.
Help prevent moto theft
They provide a laundry list of things motorcycle owners can do to make their bikes less desirable and available to thieves. You likely already know these steps, but just as a reminder, NICB says you should or should not do the following:
- Purchase motorcycles 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.