Motorcycle Thefts Up In 2015 - A Closer Look At The Report

Understanding the discussion of motorcycle thefts can only raise the blood pressure of any true rider, readers should be prepared for deep breaths as Clutch and Chrome has a new report regarding this very topic in our biker-gloved hands.

In a nutshell, year-to year, thefts are up slightly and the biggest targets of motorcycle thieves are Honda models. We’ll explain why these numbers may be slightly muddied further in the article.

At first glance, a newly released report have motorcycle thefts increasing in 2015 when compared to the previous year. But when consideration is given to number of thefts going further back, the short term leap in stolen motorcycles isn’t so bad.

Bear in mind, this is said in an analytical sense, hearing of even one motorcycle being stolen should be enough to upset any rider.

The report comes from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) which studied motorcycle thefts in the United States for 2015. 

The big number? A total of 45,555 motorcycles were reported stolen in 2015 compared with 42,856 in 2014, an increase of six percent. Before our readers run out to make sure their motorcycle is still there, the overall trend of motorcycle thefts have been on a consecutive, nine-year decline going from 66,774 thefts in 2006 to 42,856 in 2014 for a drop of 36 percent.

When the numbers for 2015 are included, the decline is still a healthy 32 percent for the period. The last four years of motorcycle thefts can be seen in the chart below.

Source National Insurance Crime Bureau

The most obvious common factor in any of the categories appears to be population concentration. Live in a big city and your motorcycle is more likely to be stolen. The same could be said for states.

Speaking of which, the top 10 states with the most reported motorcycles thefts in 2015 were California (7,221), Florida (4,758), Texas (3,403), South Carolina (2,160), New York (1,902), North Carolina (1,866), Nevada (1,408), Georgia (1,393) Indiana (1,333), and Virginia (1,253).

The top 10 cities for motorcycle thefts in 2015 were New York (1,340), Las Vegas (1,042), San Francisco (729), San Diego (717), Miami (713), Houston (517), Los Angeles (486) San Antonio (431), Indianapolis (375), and Albuquerque, (373).

The most obvious question when comparing these two lists would be, why is California the number one state but Los Angeles only comes in at seven? In one word, counties. The top 25 counties accounted for 32 percent of motorcycle thefts in 2015, with Los Angeles County ranking 1st. Call it a harsh lesson in the classification of municipalities.

The five middle months are the most popular for motorcycle thefts with May through September hitting double digits for people taking what isn’t theirs. August weighed in at 12 percent of the thefts recorded for 2015, bookended at 10 percent in May and September.

Source National Insurance Crime Bureau

For those who may feel that heartbeat racing, some good news to calm it down. Of the 45,555 motorcycle thefts in 2015, 17,678 or 39 percent of the motorcycles were recovered from 01/01/2015 through 02/08/2016. In 2015, August (2,127) and September (2,012) were months with the largest number of motorcycle recoveries while January (511) and February (591) had the fewest motorcycle recoveries.

A good chart to top in this particular study is that of recovering stolen motorcycles and that honor goes to Washington State for enjoying the highest rate of recovery. Essentially, if a rider has their motorcycle stolen in Washington State, they are statistically more likely to get it back.

While it may be taken as unkind to point this out, no standard of what condition the recovered motorcycles are in is given in the study.

Just as Honda was the motorcycle brand most likely to be stolen in 2015, it was also the one most likely to be recovered. A motorcycle brand that stood out in the category of recovery is Triumph. While it was the least favored target of motorcycle thieves, and read that number how you will, the British brand had the highest rate (60%) of recovery in the top 15 recovered manufacturers in 2015.

It’s actually the section of which brand is most likely to be stolen which indicates the report has cast a wide, categorical net. As the Clutch and Chrome readers are a clever bunch, the proverbial elephant will appear.

The top 10 most stolen motorcycles in 2015 by manufacturer were American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (8,674 thefts), Yamaha Motor Corporation (7,214), American Suzuki Motor Corporation (6,065), Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (4,920), Harley Davidson, Inc. (4,416), Taotao Group Co. Ltd (2,757), KTM Sportmotorcycle AG (630), Astronautical Bashan (620), Jonway Group Co., Ltd. (520) and Kymco U.S.A., Inc. (512).

Source National Insurance Crime Bureau

There are at least six brands which could be considered as scooters which would influence those motorcycle manufacturers toward the top of the ‘stolen’ popularity chart. If they happen to have a smaller two-transport in their line-up, a motorcycle manufacturer would be ranked higher than a Harley-Davidson, Ducati or Triumph which clearly don’t.

The full report can be found here and includes a multitude of ways to look at the data; by county, which states have seen the largest growth in thefts year to year (congratulations Miami-Dade, FL) and more.

All this information leads Clutch and Chrome to a suggestion on the next study, what should we do to the motorcycle thieves when we catch them!

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