2019-20 Leeds and Bradford Motorcycle Theft Stats

One of the biggest concerns at Leeds and Bradford MAG is motorcycle theft. Each year we put in a Freedom of Information Act request to find out how many bikes have been stolen in the Leeds and Bradford districts, how many have been recovered and what the prosecution rate is. We’ve just got the figures for June 2019 – May 2020. These are available from https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/leeds_and_bradford_motorcycle_th#incoming-1598572. The main points for this period are as follows:

  • 874 motorbikes were stolen in Leeds and Bradford, down from 1094 in June 2018 – May 2019. This is a decrease of 21%
  • 510 bikes were stolen from Leeds, 364 from Bradford
  • A total of 433 bikes, or 49.5%, were recovered. Although this is a slight improvement from 2018-19 it still means you have a less than 50% chance of seeing your bike again
  • Just 3 cases resulted in a successful prosecution. These were all community sentences. There were no custodial sentences. 696 cases were closed because no suspect was identified
  • Bike theft fell massively following the lockdown in March 2020. In 2018-19 there was a dip over winter and it started to rise again from February 2019
  • The top three recorded locations for thefts are at home, on street parking, and open air car parks

So what is Leeds and Bradford MAG doing to reduce the number of motorbike thefts? There are 4 main aspects to consider: theft prevention, detection, prosecution and sentencing. Prevention is the easiest of these. We’re working with Leeds and Bradford councils to improve secure on- and off-street motorcycle parking. We’re also having discussions about an accreditation called Parkmark Plus. This will be awarded to public and private car parks that have secure motorcycle parking.

The other three are more difficult. Massive spending cuts mean that the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner is concentrating on 16 priority areas. Vehicle theft is not one of them. We’re trying to find out more about what the police and the Crown Prosecution Service actually do with reports of stolen bikes. There are plenty of anecdotes about them being run ragged around certain estates or broken up into parts.

We believe that what is currently treated as a low level property crime contributes to antisocial behaviour and helps to fund organized crime. We want to be sure that the police are not throwing away valuable evidence that would make a difference to the 16 priorities. When one motorcycle theft gang was jailed for a few months the number of recorded thefts declined sharply. It went back up again when they were released.

Because there is currently no North Yorkshire MAG group we are also starting to investigate motorcycle theft statistics there. North Yorkshire covers a very large area and has a number of motorcycle hotspots so it will be interesting to see what the theft stats are like.

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections have been postponed until May 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We intend to contact all candidates to ask for their positions on motorcycle theft. We would encourage everyone with an interest in motorcycling to do the same. If you’re not a MAG member, note that MAG has a reward scheme for information leading to a successful prosecution for theft of a member’s bike. One more reason to join us.