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Vehicle Identification Number etching helps stop car thefts

By Victoria Advocate
May 30, 2010 at 12:30 a.m.


Q: What is VIN Etching?

A:The Crime Prevention Unit offers a variety of safety programs for the citizens of Victoria completely free of charge, including programs that help deter motor vehicle theft. One of those programs is VIN Etching.

Q: How does it work?

A:Every vehicle is equipped with a Vehicle Identification Number plate on the dash board. These plates can and are being replaced with a new, fake plate by thieves.

To help counteract this, we etch the VIN into the windows of the vehicle.

Using a computer PDA and printer system, the VIN is printed out on a stencil. This stencil is applied to the vehicle's windows (all except small vent windows). An etching cream (active ingredient - Ammonium Biflouride) is then applied to the stencil. The stencil is removed from the vehicle's window after about six minutes, leaving the VIN number permanently etched into the window.

By etching all the windows on a vehicle with the VIN the thief then has to replace and dispose of marked glass. Disposing of over 100 pounds. of marked glass creates more work for the criminal and increases their chances of being caught. In most cases, the thief sees the etching and then moves to an easier vehicle.

Q: When and where do I go to have my vehicle etched?

A:Periodically the VPD Crime Prevention Officers will hold events around the city where the public can have their vehicles etched.

Our next event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Parkway Baptist Church, 4802 N. John Stockbauer Drive. Crime Prevention officers will be on hand to etch as many vehicles as possible, so all you have to do is show up.

If you can't make it to our big event, VIN etching is also offered from 9 a.m. to noon every Thursday by appointment, so make sure and call ahead.

Q: What do I need to bring with me?

A:You will need to have a current driver's license, automobile insurance and the registered owner of the vehicle must be present.

Once again, this program is offered completely free of charge as a service to the public.

For more information, contact the Crime Prevention Unit at 361-485-3808.

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