Posts Tagged ‘Theft’

There is no place more empty than the spot where your motorcycle used to be!

Motorcyclists often put a great deal of money and attention into customization of their cycles, from elaborate paint schemes, high-performance motor upgrades, exhaust systems to billet custom wheels.  It’s not uncommon for aftermarket parts to add thousands of dollars to the original cost of the motorcycle and the hard earned efforts also capture the attention of thieves.

According to a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), motorcycle thefts nationwide have declined at about the same percentage rate as motorcycle sales trends.  A total of 56,093 motorcycles nationwide were reported stolen to law enforcement in 2009, down from 64,492 reported in 2008 or a 13% drop.

The top five manufactures stolen last year and top five states were:

Manufacture Number Stolen Top 5 States (#Stolen)
Honda 13,688 California (6,273)
Yamaha 11,148 Texas (5,526)
Suzuki 9,154 Florida (5,009)
Kawasaki 5,911 North Carolina (3,045)
Harley-Davidson 3,529 Georgia (2,067)
Total 43,430 Total of 5 States (21,920)

The summer months of July (6,319); August (6,079); and June (5,672) saw the most theft activity while the fewest thefts were recorded during the winter months of December (2,927); January (3,570); and February (3,100).

Photo courtesy of NICB.

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Timpanogos H-D Bronze Sculpture

I’ve written a couple of times about the motorcycle destination resort in Lindon, Utah called Timpanogos Harley-Davidson and its bankruptcy hardship HERE.

Adding insult to injury the embattled dealer was hit by sneaky metal thieves looking for some quick cash.  A 4-ton statue – which cost approximately $100,000 and depicts an old-time speed racing motorcycle and was mounted to a granite block outside the motorcycle shop was stolen over the weekend.  Stating the obvious, Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore stated:

“that thieves must have used heavy equipment to ‘make off’ with the statue.”

The days of “tweekers” selling scrap metal for quick cash are over, at least in Oregon.  A new law (SB 570 (.pdf)) which went into effect this year requires everyone transporting metal to get a state certificate (.pdf) and selling scrap metal is no longer possible without detailed information on where the metal was obtained.  In addition sellers will no longer get same day cash for the metal.  They will get checks in the mail after a 3-day waiting period assuming the person has an address!

Metal theft has been problematic in the northwest.  Nothing is off limits it seems from aluminum bleachers at the high schools, bronze grave markers and even railroad spikes.  These people will need to continue to support themselves and I doubt this will cease the acts….but it might make them move to other locations where the hurdles are lower.

UPDATE: January 5, 2009 — The Dealer News blog is reporting that the theft was the result of artist Jeff Decker, who owns Hippodrome Studios and used a crane to remove the statue.  The artwork was listed as an asset of the business, which went through bankruptcy, however, it was not an asset, but instead was loaned to the dealership under a “display” agreement.  The artist simply repossessed the work and it will now be a civil case and not a criminal case.  Also reported was that the dealer originally opened as Monarch Harley-Davidson prior to the owners sinking millions into the place.

Photo courtesy of Timpanogos H-D.

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Laughlin Police Station

Laughlin Police Station

By the time you finish reading this post another 18 motorcycles will have been stolen.  In the U.S. there are more than 8 motorcycles stolen every minute of every day through-out the year!

Back in 2004 I remember spending several hours with the Laughlin, NV Police getting questioned and filling out paperwork after a FatBoy was “removed” from the security monitored Flamingo (now Aquarius) Parking garage without our buddies permission! 

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) states that 60,763 motorcycles were reported stolen in the U.S. during 2008.  That number is down 2.3% from 2007 when 62,206 were stolen and down 4.8% from 2006 when 63,828 disappeared.

Some interesting data points from the report:

  1. There are 684 different makes of motorcycles identified in the report.
  2. Motorcycle theft is seasonal compared to other vehicles with July-August accounting for the highest thefts.
  3. Five brands account for 80.4% of total thefts – Honda (15,034); Yamaha (11,797); Suzuki (10,427); Kawasaki (6295); and H-D (3745)
  4. KTM, Baja and Vespa were the only motorcycle brands which experienced increases in thefts during this period.
  5. Five states have the highest theft activity – CA; FL; TX; NC; IN
  6. The industry has a 30.3% recovery rate (18,422 recovered of 60,763 thefts) which is down from previous years.

I’m always amazed when I ride by a house that has a motorcycle parked outside and more often than not lacking any theft protection.  Sure they could have an immobilizer which isn’t visible, but locks/chains do provide visible discouragement to would-be thieves.  Most often the suggestion is to secure a motorcycle to some type of permanent structure or in-ground anchor with a high-quality chain, cable or other device to help prevent theft.

Personally I use a combination of disc and armored cable locks along with the provided motorcycle fork lock.  I don’t have storage capacity to carry a high security 6-sided boron manganese steel chain type device nor do I want the extra riding weight.  I do want to provide enough of a visible deterrent so thieves will go for an easier target once I arrive at my destination.

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good-thiefI don’t really understand why I’m so annoyed at content theft, but I am and need to step up on my soapbox. 

I spend a good bit of time thinking up ideas, researching information, taking photographs and writing articles for this blog.  When I come across blatant plagiarism for the sole purpose of driving up ad revenue I get miffed. 

Today I discovered a recent example (see photo below) or navigate to motorcycleo dot com.  I’m not linking to the site because often search engines interpret links as “votes” to promote credibility.  At any rate they blatantly used my content without permission.  In the blog industry it’s called Splog’s (SPAM Blogs).  These people artificially create weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliate websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. The purpose of a splog is to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors, and/or use the blog as a link outlet to get new sites indexed.  In some cases these sites are going to the extreme of backdating the entries before re-posting them.  The result makes the fake site appear as though it posted the content prior to the original.

sbloggersAt the site (left) some quick background checks and Whois search revealed the address for the registrant is in Canada and the website is registered through a service in Germany. Clearly it’s a criminal enterprise. In addition, they are a cybersquatting address (motorcycle with an O added at the end) tells everyone a lot about their intent.

Often there is confusion between the terms “splog” and “spam in blogs”. Splogs are blogs where the articles are fake, and are created for search engine spamming. To spam in blogs, is to include random comments on the blogs of innocent bloggers, in which spammers take advantage of a site’s ability to allow visitors to post comments that may include links.  Splog’s are usually a type of scraper site, where content is often either inauthentic text or merely stolen (blog scraping via RSS) from other websites. These blogs typically contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator that are often shady or otherwise useless websites.

It seems once content is on the internet, this type of behavior is hard to stop or it becomes a full-time job to take them down.  Yeah, that’s where I want to spend my time – NOT!  There are a couple of things you can do that I wanted to pass along for others who might be annoyed by this pesky behavior.

  1. For starters, you can add a copyright notice to each and every post with a link back to your site and your information.
  2. You can configure your RSS feed so that it only displays summaries (not the full content). Many sploggers rip off through RSS feeds and not the actual blog as it’s easier for them. NOTE: If your blog is syndicated through legitimate aggregators then this may not be an option and you should check with them prior to changing RSS feeds.
  3. Lastly, and depending on your blog hosting service you can report a blog for violation of TOS or follow the appropriate steps to file a DMCA notice against the site owner and/or its host. For WordPress.com see HERE.

It’s frustrating and infuriating to see the internet savvy generation on one hand claim to be proponents of open/free technology yet show such little respect for creativity and intellectual property…okay, I’ll step off the soapbox and think of something interesting to write about rather than let these A-holes bum me out!

Yes, I feel better now…


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