Motorcycle Theft in Australia | Analysis and current trends

Motorcycle Theft Analysis
Australia 2019-20 FY

By Trevor Hedge

Motorcycle theft data for the 2019-20 financial year reveals that the state of Victoria suffered the worst number of thefts overall with 2056 stolen motorcycles reported.

Victoria records most motorcycle thefts in Australia

Victoria took the dubious mantle from NSW where motorcycle theft experienced an 11.6 per decline (1909) in comparison to the 2018-19 FY. In contrast, thefts were up by a marginal 0.9 per cent in Victoria.

WA worst by far on per capita basis

However, Western Australia (1914) continues to suffer by far the worst rate of theft on a per capita basis. Despite a significant 9.8 per cent drop in reported motorcycle theft compared to the previous reporting period, more motorcycles were stolen in WA than were reported stolen in NSW, even though the WA population is only one-third that of NSW. The Local Government Areas of Cockburn, Stirling and Rockingham are the worst hot-spots for motorcycle theft in Western Australia.

Brisbane a major hot-spot

Motorcycle theft in Queensland (1956) is up 4.9 per cent and on a per capita basis, The Sunshine State has a much higher rate of motorcycle theft than Victoria, NSW, the ACT or the Northern Territory. The City of Brisbane LGA is the hot-spot with 599 thefts, a marked 28.5 per cent increase and more than twice as many thefts as reported on the Gold Coast, which ranked second in the national LGA hot-spots.

Tassie records significant jump in motorcycle theft

Tasmania (216) reported the biggest jump in reported thefts with a 27.1 per cent increase.

South Australia not doing too well either

Theft was up by 10 per cent in South Australia and SA had the second worst rate of theft per capita behind Western Australia, but WA’s rate of theft was much worse than SA.

NT on a positive trend

The Northern Territory recorded the largest drop in theft, down 23 per cent on the previous reporting period.

As no reliable indicator of motorcycles across the various states are available, we resorted to using population figures to compare the state by state results on a per capita basis.

When do most motorcycles get stolen?

By far the most common time for motorcycles to be stolen was on a Friday evening between the hours of 1600 and 2000. Sunday evening in the same time bracket was the second most opportune time for thieves. Two-thirds of thefts are from the home of the victim.

Which brands fare the worst in the figures?

Honda (1938) was the most stolen brand ahead of Yamaha (1574), Kawasaki (884), Suzuki (819) and KTM (598). Harley-Davidson was surprisingly down in ninth with only 186 reported thefts. BMW, Triumph and Ducati fared even better.

What engine sizes are the most targeted by thieves?

The most stolen capacity range was that of 251-500 cc (1301), followed by 101-150 cc (1113), 501-750 cc (877), 201-250 cc (867), 50 cc or less (802) and 751-1000 cc (415) while the 1000 cc plus segment recorded 282 thefts. These figures suggest that dirtbikes likely make up a significant amount of the recorded thefts, more than a third at least.

Is my motorcycle more likely to be stolen if it is fairly new? Yes…

Your motorcycle was most likely to be stolen if it was made in the decade of 2010-2020 with that bracket accounting for almost half of all motorcycles stolen. 2000-2010 models are just over a quarter of the volume of total thefts.

The overall tally

Over the reporting period 9,021 motorcycle thefts are included in this data for the 2019-20 FY.   This was a decline of 2.7 per cent compared to the 2018-19 FY, which was the worst in recent history recorded by the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council. Over half of all motorcycles stolen are never recovered.

State or Territory 2018/19 2019/20 % change
Thefts % of thefts  Thefts % of thefts 
ACT 104 1.1 110 1.2 5.8%
NSW 2,160 23.3 1,909 21.2 -11.6%
NT 100 1.1 77 0.9 -23.0%
QLD 1,864 20.1 1,956 21.7 4.9%
SA 711 7.7 783 8.7 10.1%
TAS 170 1.8 216 2.4 27.1%
VIC 2,037 22 2,056 22.8 0.9%
WA 2,121 22.9 1,914 21.2 -9.8%
AUS 9,267 100 9,021 100 -2.70%

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