VIN Etching Deters Auto Theft

Most people know the common sense measures of preventing auto theft: keep valuables out of sight in your car, lock your doors, don't leave your GPS device on the dash.

Besides the obvious precautions, HPD Sgt. TJ Salazar says he recommends VIN etching.

"I was in Guatemala a few weeks ago and there was a vehicle, it was a 2006 Ford pick-up that had the vehicle identification number removed and they put a 1999 vehicle identification number on it. The original VIN was etched on the glass and that was one way that we were able to identify it. VIN etching does help."

In excess of 30,000 vehicles are stolen in Houston every year. But thefts are down about 22 percent this year. Dan Ronan is the spokesman for AAA Texas. He says it takes about 15 minutes to have your vehicle identification number etched onto all the windows.

"What this does is it makes, for people who are thinking about stealing your car, makes it a deterrent because the VIN numbers are not just in the usual place maybe around by the front window, but they're on several windows. And this makes a vehicle more difficult to resale in terms of if its stolen and goes to a chop shop into some sort of a resale situation."

In an effort to reduce auto thefts, HPD and AAA are offering free VIN etching to anyone who visits AAA's Houston office through September 30th.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
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