Police department offers free VIN etching

Aug. 16, 2012 at 3:16 a.m.

The Victoria Police Department is offering free VIN etching and H.E.A.T registration Saturday to prevent auto theft in Victoria.

Chris Guerra, crime prevention officer, said the tools are an effective deterrent.

“Anyone out there in the business, because it is a business, a big business, they know what to look for,” Guerra said.

VIN etching puts the vehicle identification number on every window of the car, as opposed to the dashboard, which is easily replaced with fake plates. Putting the etching on the window is harder and more expensive to remove.

It also deters thieves from stealing cars for parts, because window glass is one of the biggest money makers at chop shops, Guerra said.

Help End Auto Theft is a statewide program sponsored by the Texas Department of Public Safety that helps officers identify stolen vehicles. Those in the program have decals on their front and back windows, allowing officers to pull the vehicle over between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., when most vehicles are stolen, to verify ownership.

“If they see those stickers, there is a good chance they will be stopped,” Guerra said of thieves. “Why would they take the added risk when they can just as easily steal another car that is not protected?”

VIN etching and H.E.A.T Registration will take about 15 minutes and is free of charge.

Dealerships, Guerra said, often charge between $150-300 for VIN etching as an anti-theft feature.



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