Is your bike safe?
We’ve been shocked as 2020 has progressed and along with it car theft rates have exploded. Mostly driven by the effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns, we were curious if motorcycles were also being targeted by criminals.
According to a report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau issued back on July 31 of this year, motorcycle thefts were down overall across the United States in 2019, with California leading the nation at 6,913 claims for the year. Hondas were targeted the most. The good news from last year was 46 percent of stolen motorcycles were recovered.
All that sounds great and the press release from NICB triggered a wave of headlines declaring motorcycle theft was dropping rapidly across the country. However, a search for motorcycle theft rates for 2020 turned up zero results. In other words, we probably won’t know until sometime next year just how much of a rise in motorcycle thefts there has been in 2020.
Yes, we said an increase because it’s difficult to believe only cars are being targeted by thieves. If car theft rates, which also were low in 2019, are now skyrocketing, it seems likely something similar is happening with motorcycle theft rates this year.
Helping to confirm our suspicions is info coming out of New York City, where motorcycle thefts have been surging recently. According to a recent New York Post report, through September 20 of this year, motorcycle and moped theft is up a shocking 63%. In other words, if you own a bike in the Big Apple, you need to take extreme measures to secure it. Police are blaming the bail reform laws, which they say keep criminals on the street where they can commit more crimes.
A general survey of news reports relating to crime in different parts of the United States shows that just about every type of property theft is up, including motorcycle thefts. That’s hardly the same as cold, hard numbers, so for now we’re left making an educated guess that motorcycle theft is up and probably by double digits.
Considering motorcycles are easier to steal than most cars, they’re low-hanging fruit for criminals. Not only can they be pushed away or loaded into a truck or van with ease, disassembling or chopping them to sell the parts on the black market is also far easier to do than with trucks.
What can be done to secure your beloved motorcycle? Quite a few things, depending on your resources. The number one thing you can do is park your bike in a secure building at night, like a private garage. Thieves look for low-hanging fruit and they like to work at odd hours, so keeping your ride out of sight and secured away reduces the chances of it getting swiped.
If you have to park outside, choose a place that’s well-lit and has a fair amount of traffic. That’s no guarantee a brazen thief won’t strike, but it can help reduce the chances.
Unbelievably, some people leave the key on their motorcycle, but you shouldn’t do that even if it’s in a locked garage. Use whatever locks the manufacturer supplies, plus you might want to add one or more aftermarket locks. A good GPS unit installed on your bike is also a wise move.
Everyone has an opinion on motorcycle alarms. Some think they’re pathetic and don’t do anything, others believe the noise could scare off a thief. One that sends a notification to your phone might be helpful, if you’re near the bike at the time.
However you choose to secure your motorcycle, we recommend a multi-layered approach. If lockdowns and civil unrest continue, it might become even more difficult to deter would-be criminals from swiping your ride.