Window Etching Stops Car Theft

Houston Police and Triple-A Texas are joining forces in a program they hope will reduce car thefts. They'll etch your car's VIN number on your car windows, for free, as Jim Bell reports.

Police will tell you that etching Vehicle Identification Numbers on a car's windows can greatly reduce it's chances of being stolen. HPD Auto Theft Division Sergeant T.J. Salazar says professional thieves steer clear of those cars.

"If they steal the vehicle that has the numbers etched on all the glass, they're either gonna do two things. One, replace all the glass, which they don't want to do because it costs them money and time, or, they're gonna etch a design on top of the VIN number, which will be a red flag for the police." 

Many car-makers now put VIN numbers on windows at the factory, but countless cars, trucks and SUV's don't have them. Many car dealers do the etching for a price of course, but starting this week, and going through June, Triple-A Texas will do it for nothing at its offices around the Houston area.  Spokeswoman Sarah Schimmer says it's not just for Triple-A members. It's for the general public.

"Free service, 10 minutes total for that customer to come in and request it and for our staff to help place those numbers on the car, and if a customer were to go to a dealership it would be about a 200 dollar service charge." 

Schimmer joins Sgt. Salazar in urging car owners to take advantage of the free etching, because Houston leads the state in motor vehicle thefts, and it's close to number one nationwide.  For more information a list of Houston area Triple-A offices and when etching will be available at each office, visit the Triple-A web site.  

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.