An average of 126 motorcycles were stolen in the U.S. every day in 2012, according to a report released by the the National Insurance Crime Bureau. That’s from a total of 46,061 motorcycles reported stolen that year a 1.3% improvement from the 46,667 motorcycles reported stolen in 2011.
Recovery rates for stolen motorcycles were also up in 2012, with 17,757 or 38.6% of the reported thefts recovered between Jan. 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. By contrast, only 17,199 (36.9%) of thefts in 2011 were recovered according to last year’s NICB report, though it’s important to note that report included recoveries through only a 17-month period.
Honda motorcycles were the most popular targets for thieves, with the 9,082 thefts representing 19.7% of all reported thefts in 2012. Yamaha is second with 7,517 thefts (16.3%) followed by Suzuki (7,017 for 15.2%) and Kawasaki (4,839 for 10.5%). A steady supply of these Japanese motorcycles on the roads and a strong underground demand for stolen replacement parts may account for the high theft rates. Harley-Davidson rounds out the top five with 3,755 reported thefts (8.2%), though that figure is remarkably low considering the Motor Company represented 35.7% of all U.S. sales in 2012.
After the top five, motorcycle theft rates drop off considerably, with all other manufacturers each accounting for less than 2% of total thefts. Oddly enough, BMW motorcycles are not among the top 15 in stolen motorcycles, whereas lesser-known brands such as Taotao, Roketa and Kaitong made the list. It might be a good idea to drop by a dealership to buy a BMW-branded motorcycle cover to protect motorcycles from other brands.
Despite ranking third in the overall thefts, Suzuki motorcycles from model years 2007 and 2006 are were the most commonly stolen motorcycles in 2012. A total of 1,179 MY2007 Suzukis were stolen that year, followed by 1,070 from MY2006.
The NICB report does support some very obvious assumptions. For example, motorcycle thefts are highest in the summer, when more motorcycles are on the road, and lowest in the winter when most motorcycles are shuttered from the cold. July is the hottest month for thefts, with 5,529 motorcycles stolen, while only 2,089 motorcycles were reported stolen in February.
States with more motorcycle riders also saw more thefts. The motorcycle-friendly state of California ranks first in reported thefts, with 6,082 motorcycles stolen in 2012 representing 13.2% of all thefts. Motorcycle thefts actually increased in the Golden State, with just 5,927 motorcycles reported stolen last year. Florida ranks second with 4,110 thefts, surpassing Texas which actually saw a 13.9% decrease in thefts to 3,400 motorcycles. Accordingly, California, Florida and Texas also ranked 1-2-3 in stolen motorcycle recoveries.