A gathering of  bikers in Mastic Beach last year

Thefts of motorcycles are falling in New York and in most other states, says a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. One big reason is that sales of motorcycles have declined during the recession.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The declining theft rate is good news, of course, for motorcycle owners but the report from the Des Plaines, Ill.,- based group that tracks vehicle related crimes has some bad news, too: if your bike is stolen, its chances of recovery have become slimmer — perhaps because more of the thefts being committed are by “professionals” rather than joyriders — thieves who will export the machine or strip it for parts, not just drive it and abandon it somewhere when it runs out of gas.

The group’s spokesman, Frank Scafidi, says motorcycles generally are easier to steal than cars — many of them are light enough for a beefy thief to roll into the back of a van or pickup truck — and harder to recover. “Like cars, many times parts from stolen bikes are used to modify other machines or to build “custom” bikes from stolen and untraceable parts,” he said in an e-mail. "Parts that are identifiable are then discarded, buried, or, sometimes sold off as scrap to the same places that buy catalytic converters without asking their origin.”

The group says that, nationally, cycle thefts fell by 13 percent from 2008 to last year — to 56,093 thefts. Motorcycle sales fell by 41 percent during the same period.

In New York, the bureau said, thefts fell from 1,906 in 2008 to 1,756 last year — an eight percent drop.

The most frequently stolen brand, the group says, is Honda but that might simply be because of its popularity. “It’s ike the cars—there are many more of them sold and in use so that makes them much more likely to get stolen in the first place,” Scafidi said.