Motorcycle thefts are double car thefts

Motorcycle thefts in Australia are increasing at more than double the rate of car theft, according to the latest figures for the 2018/2019 financial year.

The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council reports that 9261 motorcycles were stolen in the past financial year, which is 9% more than the previous year.

Over the same period, car theft increased 4% to 43,839, while theft of all vehicles was up 5% to 55,293.

Motorcycles represent 16.7% of all vehicle theft, yet are only about 5% of total registrations. However, some of the thefts are of unregistered dirt bikes.

Most of the increase in motorcycle theft seems to be in short-term theft, usually joy rides.

Short-term theft of all vehicles increased 845 (2%) while it was up 8% for motorcycles.

Profit-motivated thefts by organised criminal groups rose 1775 (13%) for all vehicles with motorcycles (up 10%).

Motorcycle thefts by state

Motorcycle thefts increased in all jurisdictions, except the ACT and Victoria.

State or Territory 2017/18 2018/19 % change
Thefts Thefts
ACT 127 104 -18.1% 
NSW 1,873 2,157 15.2% 
NT 95 100 5.3% 
QLD 1,562 1,880 20.4% 
SA 540 710 31.5% 
TAS 117 169 44.4% 
VIC 2,068 2,024 -2.1% 
WA 2,095 2,117 1.1% 
AUS 8,477 100.0 9,261 100.0 9.2% 

Queensland thefts have risen a massive 45% over the past five years since the Campbell Newman Government pulled its funding from the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.

It took until July this year for the Queensland Government to reinstate its $206,000 annual funding.

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said the Club had lobbied to re-join the NMVTRC.

The Triumph Bonneville rider says Queensland had missed out on receiving vital funding for locally-delivered crime prevention programs.

“We’re now looking forward to seeing our state reap these long-awaited benefits,” he says.

The council, Queensland Government and Queensland Police have confirmed collaborative working arrangements to tackle vehicle theft crime.

They include proactive police action to educate riders about locking up their bikes.

Queensland Police and the RACQ launched their “Stop Stolen Motorcycles” awareness campaign last year.

In June, they asked riders to complete an online Motorbike Theft Survey to raise awareness of the use of security devices.

Motorcycle theft Senior Constable Tony Tatkovich and Steve Spalding RACQ
Senior Constable Tony Tatkovich and Steve Spalding RACQ with a motorcycle disc lock

Common motorcycle thefts

As usual, the most common manufacturers featured high on the list of most stolen brands.

However, KTM and Husqvarna also featured because of their many dirt bikes which are lighter and easier to steal than heavy road bikes.

Similarly, scooter brands such as SYM, Kymco and Piaggio featured because scooters are also easy to steal.

Make 2017/18 2018/19
Honda 1734 2005
Yamaha 1541 1581
Kawasaki 719 855
Suzuki 766 816
KTM 569 645
SYM 198 285
Kymco 140 223
Harley Davidson 229 219
Piaggio 193 202
Triumph 180 181
Hyosung 151 172
Husqvarna 134 145
Longjia 139 142
Aprilia 101 96
Ducati 95 93
TGB 97 89
Vespa 92 78
BMW 67 77
Adly 57 65
Bolwell 60 65


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