According to reporter Alix Bryan, Scooter theft in and around the scooter-dense city of Richmond, Virginia is sharply on the rise. Combined figures show a jump nearly one-and-a-half times that of last year’s theft rate. Why the sharp rise? Easy targets? Quick cash from unwitting buyers? The answer may be much more pragmatic: cheap transportation.
These scooters and mopeds (a moped appears more like a traditional bicycle including spoked wheels, a bare frame and pedal cranks) sip gasoline. For the price of one specialty beverage at Starbucks, scooterists cans fill up at the pump, and get 90 miles per gallon from their octane.
Thieves have noticed.
Last week alone, five mopeds were stolen compared with just one theft during the same time period last year on the Southside, said police.
So far in 2012, officers have recorded 79 moped thefts citywide, representing a 147 percent increase, compared to the same time period last year.
Just as scooter sales tend to ebb and flow with the price of gasoline, so does scooter theft. Fortunately though, unlike most boosted cars, there’s actually a better-than-not chance victims will see their stolen rides again.
The good news is that the recovery rate is about 65 percent for stolen scooters, said Lahmers–which is what a detective told her last year. “There are better odds that you will get your scooter back than getting back a stolen car.”
The reason, she said, is that four-wheel vehicles will often get chopped-up for parts.
“One of the biggest challenges with recovering stolen mopeds is that victims did not record their serial number, making it difficult to find and return the moped, not to mention making an arrest,” Second Precinct Capt. Harvey Powers said in a press release.
Having your scooter’s basic identifying information available for the police seems like a pretty easy way to aid in finding your stolen wheels. Not sure where to find your VIN? Swing by your favorite forum or give your local dealer a call. For those of you rocking scooters large enough to require title, insurance and registration, your VIN is on your title, and likely on your insurance card. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make note of your engine number as well. And speaking of insurance, that’s probably the easiest peace of mind against possible theft. Full coverage for scooters, even brand new ones, is incredibly cheap.
That said, what can you do to make your scooter harder to nick in the first place? Your steering column lock isn’t enough. Captain Powers and Scoot Richmond’s Chelsea Lahmers offer up some easy tips, and we’ve added a couple of our own.
Tips for preventing and dealing with scooter theft
- Get a sturdy locking cable or chain and secure your scooter to something solid.
- Use a disk lock/alarm to further deter thieves.
- Don’t park your scooter is such a way that a truck could easily park in front of it and load it up.
- Park somewhere highly visible, rather than out-of-the-way where nobody would likely witness a theft.
- Pay the extra couple of bucks for Comprehensive insurance.
- Have all your scooter’s vital information written down and filed away.
- Consider a cover. It’s one more thing in a thief’s way.