Prevent Motorcycle and Scooter Theft

Millions of dollars worth of motorcycles, scooters and parts are stolen in Virginia each year. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported 901 motorcycle thefts in VA in 2017 and 295 recoveries.

The key to theft prevention is the same for any vehicle: Follow a layered approach and make your vehicle more difficult to steal.

Layered Approach to Protection

Common Sense

Common sense and good habits are essential to preventing auto theft.

  • Take your keys or take your chances — There’s no easier vehicle to steal than one that’s left unattended and idling. Thieves know where to look for spare keys inside a vehicle or on its exterior, so keep your extra keys in a secure location.
  • Secure your vehicle — If you leave it, lock it, and be sure all windows are closed. Consider engaging the parking brake, too. Every effort you take to protect your vehicle is an obstacle a potential thief would have to overcome.
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight — HEAT doesn’t recommend leaving valuables in your vehicle. If it’s unavoidable to leave valuables in your vehicle, be sure they are concealed underneath seats or in the trunk.
  • Park in protected areas — Nearly half of all auto thefts occur at night, so park near street lamps or store fronts when possible. If garage parking is available, that’s even better.


Audible or Visible Deterrents

Thieves prefer an easy target, so vehicles equipped with audible or visible theft-prevention devices may not be worth their time or effort.

  • VIN etching — The HEAT program offers no-cost VIN etchings at various locations throughout the year. VIN-etched glass must be stripped and replaced before a criminal can sell the car.
  • Locks — Steering wheel locks, steering column collars and tire locks take time to remove, which may deter thieves
  • Alarms — Car alarms with various sensors and sirens are often low cost and can deter thieves.



Late-model vehicles are equipped with technology that makes them increasingly difficult to steal. Aftermarket technology upgrades are available for all vehicles.

  • Transponders and smart keys — Transponders and smart keys emit radio frequencies that communicate with your vehicle. Your vehicle won’t start unless it detects this frequency, which makes theft extremely difficult.
  • Vehicle disablers, immobilizers and kill switches — These devices can be engaged remotely and give the owner full control to render a vehicle inoperable in the event it’s stolen.
  • GPS or other vehicle tracking systems — Track your vehicle from your computer, smart phone or tablet, or pay a service provider to track your vehicle for you.