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Improved data shows crooks’ focus on scooters

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A new classification system for motorcycle thefts reveals motor scooters are a favourite target.

Scooters accounted for 19% of motorbike thefts last year, followed by off-road dirt bikes (17%) and on-road sports bikes (13%), according to National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) data.

Scooters were the most popular short-term theft target (28%), with dirt bikes the most common profit-motivated theft target (22%).

NMVTRC Executive Director Ray Carroll says motorcycles make up more than a quarter of all unrecovered stolen vehicles.

This prompted the new classification system, which has improved the detail of theft data for motorbikes. Until now the NMVTRC has reported on motorcycles as a single body type, broken down by make and cubic capacity.

“We wanted to create awareness of what the true dynamics of motorcycle theft are,” Mr Carroll told “The biggest theft targets are not the big, expensive motorcycles but relatively low-value scooters. They’re easier to steal and in many cases it’s kids stealing other kids’ bikes or opportunistic thieves placing a scooter in the back of their ute.”

He says with scooters growing in popularity, thieves also target them for the spare parts market.

Scooters were the most popular theft target in WA (28%) and SA (30%) last year, but dirt bikes comprised 45% of motorbike thefts in the ACT.

In Victoria 25% of all motorcycles stolen were sports bikes.

Improved data on motorcycle models shows the top theft target last year was the Honda CT110 (168 thefts), followed by the Suzuki DR-Z400 dirt bike (110).

The Honda CT110 accounts for 56% of all standard bikes stolen. Popular sports bikes stolen included the Yamaha YZF-R1 (8%) and Honda CBR250R (6%).

The most commonly stolen scooters were the Honda Lead 100 (5%), Yamaha Beewee YW100 (4%) and Yamaha Jog (4%).

The Honda TRX420 and TRX500 accounted for 18% of all-terrain vehicles stolen.

The new reporting system is based on a review of 57,000 motorcycle make, model, year and body-type combinations cross-referenced with registered motorcycle details.

The NMVTRC can now classify on-road and off-road motorcycles by their market segment and has improved make and model details.

Mr Carroll says the classification of motorcycles stolen was unknown in about 30% of cases “due to the poor nature of motorcycle theft reporting”.