Although the reason has yet to be determined, motorcycle thefts rose two percent in 2016. Maybe it’s because they look cool, or maybe they’re just easier to steal than other motor vehicles. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has released statistics that provide more information about where these thefts are most prevalent, and what may be behind the increase. A MA defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with motorcycle theft.
Top 10 Cities for Motorcycle Theft
Of the top 10 cities mentioned in the NICB report, nine are located in warm climates. This isn’t a big surprise, given that more bikes are purchased in warmer-climate areas, and they are generally on the road for more months each year in these places. However, the only city on the list with a cold climate in winter months also happens to be the city with the highest number of motorcycle thefts – New York City. The top 10 cities were:
- New York City (1,209)
- San Diego (849)
- Las Vegas (818)
- Los Angeles (760)
- San Francisco (616)
- Miami (610)
- Houston (607)
- San Antonio (411)
- Phoenix (347)
- Austin (343)
Not surprisingly, motorcycle thefts in NYC were highest in August and lowest in February, further proof that Mother Nature plays a significant role in motorcycle thefts.
When the NICB looked at motorcycle theft by state, the leaders were California, Florida and Texas. Looking at the city stats above, this doesn’t come as a surprise. However, numbers four and five on that list were South Carolina and North Carolina, respectively. Considering that population isn’t as robust in these states, some researchers are left scratching their heads. Yes, both North and South Carolina have warmer climates, but so do many other states with worse records of overall crime.
When Temperatures Drop, So Does Crime
Maybe New England’s brutal winters do have some very real benefits. But motorcycle thefts do still occur here; in 2015, 34 bikes were stolen in MA. A Boston defense attorney can help you protect your rights if you’ve been charged with any type of theft.
What’s Behind the Increase?
Theft of motorcycles had been declining for nine years when it increased in 2015, and then again in 2016. According to the NICB’s Frank Scafidi, it is easier to steal a motorcycle. “Stealing a bike is much easier than stealing a car simply because of its size,” said Scafidi. “If you have your bike all chained up and covered with all kinds of immobilizing technology, it can still be picked up with a fork lift, loaded into a pickup truck and taken away.” And with car anti-theft systems becoming more sophisticated every day, motorcycles are increasingly an easier option.
Unfortunately for bike owners, the recovery rate tends to be lower than the recovery rate for cars. This is largely due to the fact that bikes are frequently “chopped” for individual parts. Of the 46,467 motorcycles stolen in 2016, only about 18,000 were recovered.
Penalties for Motorcycle Theft in MA
Considering that most motorcycles are valued at more than $250, motorcycle theft is classified as grand larceny in MA. A felony charge, grand larceny carries a penalty of up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Continue reading