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11 November 2022

Motorcycle theft sees ‘sizeable jump’

Wednesday 12 April 2023 | Written by Joanne Holden | Published in Crime, National

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Motorcycle theft sees ‘sizeable jump’
Twenty-two motorcycles were reported stolen in the first quarter of 2023, more than double the number taken over the same period last year. 23041110

The rate of motorcycle theft over the first three months of 2023 is more than double that of the same period last year, potentially bringing an end to a five-year downward trend.

Cook Islands Police Service spokesman Trevor Pitt said 22 locally-owned motorcycles were reported stolen between January and March this year, a 144 per cent rise on the first quarter of 2022 and 100 per cent on 2021.

“The number of unlawfully taken vehicles has been steadily decreasing for at least five years, but the first few months of this year is a worrying sign that this trend may be reversed,” Pitt said.

The “sizable jump” in motorcycle theft has prompted Police to give “timely advice for owners to exercise more care about the safety of their vehicles”, Pitt said.

“In particular, not to leave motorbikes unattended with the key in the ignition, even at home during the night.”

Some cases of missing motorcycles were “opportunistic” where the owner had left the keys in the ignition, while others involved the owners parking outside a nightclub and or a dark or unlit area of town, Pitt said.

“Motorbike owners should be more aware about leaving their vehicles, especially overnight in vulnerable locations or risk areas in town.

“On average, about half of the missing bikes are recovered, according to Police data.”

Pitt said the statistics concerned locally-owned motorcycles only.

Motorists are also being urged to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy in the lead-up to the next two-year round of issuing warrants of fitness, which kicks off on July 1.

“It’s important to ensure your vehicle is maintained at the required level of fitness to help keep you safe on the road,” Pitt said.

Police have given automotive businesses which issue warrants of fitness a “heads up” to start preparing for the next round of certification, Pitt said.

“Police would like to ensure they are fully compliant to the necessary standard to issue WoFs.

“In addition, all mechanics preparing the WoFs must be certified (12 months). Mechanics cannot transfer their certification to another business.”

Pitt said Police were in the process of reviewing the process for checking and approval.

“Underlying these efforts is the need for all motorists to take responsibility for the roadworthiness of their vehicles.”