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Stolen bikes take longer to recover

Theft thieves stolen recover

Stolen motorcycles and scooters are now taking longer to recover, according to the latest National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council report.

It shows that in the 12 months to March 2020, motor vehicle theft rose 11% while motorcycle and scooter theft was up a whopping 19% to 9938.Motorcycle theft hot spots

Motorcycle thefts by state

State or Territory

2018-04 to 2019-03

2019-04 to 2020-03

% change


% of thefts


% of thefts

ACT 105 1.2 122 1.2 16.2%
NSW 2,023 22.6 2,155 21.7 6.5%
NT 85 1.0 94 0.9 10.6%
QLD 1,792 20.0 2,128 21.4 18.8%
SA 623 7.0 865 8.7 38.8%
TAS 163 1.8 219 2.2 34.4%
VIC 2,057 23.0 2,177 21.9 5.8%
WA 2,090 23.4 2,178 21.9 4.2%
AUS 8,938 100.0 9,938 100.0 11.2%

Time to recover

Worse still for the owners, stolen motorcycle recovered within seven days dropped by 10%.

The time to recover stolen motorcycles increased most in Victoria and was more pronounced in metropolitan areas.

Most stolen vehicles took longer to recover the more expensive and younger they were.

However, stolen motorcycles did not show any considerable differences in the time to recover across vehicle age.

The Council believes some of the reasons for the longer recovery period for motorcycles include:

  • An increase in the use of cloned number plates to avoid detection and the elimination of registration labels. This makes it more difficult for police to detect stolen vehicles and gives thieves more time to use the stolen vehicle.
  • Changes in police priorities including a greater focus on drugs, terrorism and domestic violence.
  • Offenders’ perception of police pursuit policies. Offenders may believe that by riding dangerously they can convince police to pull out of a pursuit thus enabling them to keep the stolen vehicle for a longer period of time.
  • An indication that offenders are getting older and less likely to be detected by police based purely on their age.
  • A community shift to a “mind your own business” approach to crime. People may be less likely to ‘get involved’ if they see an abandoned vehicle resulting in a delay in it being report to authorities. There is also a possibility that this change in social attitude is more evident in metropolitan areas.