Huge fall in motorcycle theft

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Published on 18 March 2019 by Matt Colley

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Filed under Category: The world of motorcycling

Tougher tactics by police appear to be making a real difference in the fight against motorcycle theft.

New figures from the Home Office show that there were 27,000 motorcycle thefts over the course of 2018 – a sharp drop from the peak of 34,000 recorded during 2017. In even better news, this downward trend appears set to continue throughout 2019.

This development comes as welcome news to the motorcycle community, which has seen a total of 79,228 motorcycles stolen and never recovered over the last five years – as the BMF has covered extensively.

The high-profile crackdown on motorcycle theft and the launch of a dedicated government task force came after growing public awareness of gangs on scooters (routinely also stolen) that commit increasingly violent crimes in large cities. This prompted a change of tactics by police, who are deploying tougher measures and who now have greater freedoms to pursue and stop moped or scooter-riding suspects – up to and including the authorisation of ramming.

However, there has still not been an improvement on the number of returned motorcycles, with 59% of stolen motorcycles being either sold on or shipped abroad instead of recovered and returned to their rightful owners. Others are stripped for parts that are sold on in turn, although efforts to crack down on the sale of salvaged bikes in untraceable cash are also underway. At present, only 10,400 motorcycles are recovered every year and these are often in such a bad state of repair that they have to be written off by insurance companies.

Nevertheless, the news is still positive and especially so when contrasted with automotive crime overall, which has seen a staggering rise in the number of reported stolen vehicles. In 2017, 86,000 vehicles were recorded as stolen, but this jumped to more than 112,000 in 2018.

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