Motorcycle thefts down 13% in 2009

Decreased sales and production cited as leading cause for fewer thefts

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Apr. 14, 2010
Reported motorcycle thefts in the U.S. were down 13% in 2009, according to a report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The report analyzed motorcycle thefts from 2006 to 2009 and the number of thefts decreased each year. The 13% decline however marked the biggest drop in thefts during the period of study.

According to the report, there were 56,093 motorcycle thefts in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico), a significant decrease from the 64,492 thefts reported in 2008. The number of reported motorcycle thefts decreased by 8,399. By comparison, thefts dropped by about 1,100 motorcycles in 2008 and 2007.

While a sharp decline in motorcycle thefts is good news, the reason for the drop is not so positive: there are fewer motorcycles to steal. The NCIB report cites a drop in both motorcycle sales and production as the main reason for the drop in thefts. According to data from the Motorcycle Industry Council, motorcycle sales dropped 40.8% in 2009 while the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association reports a 47.4% decrease in production from the Big Four.

California led all states in reported thefts for the fourth straight year with 6,273 in 2009, but the figure still represents a 14.8% decrease from 2008. Florida is second over the entire four years of the study, though the state dropped to third in 2009 thefts behind Texas. Motorcycle thefts increased in a handful of states but only Georgia and Connecticut showed steady increases each year 2007 to 2009. Georgia is ninth in overall thefts since 2006 and if the trend continues, it will pass Maryland and move into eighth in 2010.

Divided by manufacturer, Honda led all makes in motorcycle thefts with 13,688 in 2009 and 65,564 from 2006-2009. Over that four-year span, Honda thefts represented 25.9% of all reported thefts. The other Big Four Japanese manufacturers followed with Yamaha in second, Suzuki third and Kawasaki fourth. Harley-Davidson rounds out the top five.