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Maryland ranked 8

Maryland had the eighth-highest number of motorcycle thefts nationwide in 2009, according to an analysis of crime data by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

But the number of incidents statewide decreased to 1,538, down about 27 percent from its peak in 2008, the report shows.

Researchers for the nonprofit organization analyzed data from the National Crime Information Center, a database that law enforcement agencies use to report stolen items.

According to the report, there was a 13 percent decline in motorcycle theft nationwide since 2008, and it has been steadily decreasing since 2006. However, industry reports that motorcycle sales have also decreased every year since 2005.

These findings mirror declines in overall motor vehicle theft in Maryland. Vehicle thefts were down 26 percent in the first six months of 2009, according to uniform crime reports from Maryland law enforcement, said Greg Shipley, spokesman for the Maryland State Police. Those reports do not break out thefts by type of vehicle.

Vehicle thefts have declined 29 percent from a high of 35,858 in 2004 to 25,340 in 2008, the most recent data available.

Statewide, law enforcement and community groups have led public awareness campaigns to combat such crimes, Shipley said. "We think all of that is contributing to a reduction of motor vehicle theft," he said.

Maryland also had the sixth-highest number of recoveries after motorcycle thefts — 597 — but that number has also been declining since 2006 as it has nationwide.

liz.kay@baltsun.com

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