Vehicle VIN etching can help keep car thieves away

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Bellaire resident Hugh Brazier's car was stolen before. That is why he was at the police department Wednesday.

"I parked it outside the house and within 15 minutes, the car had gone," Brazier said.

In Houston, police say that thieves steal cars all the time. On average, 40 cars are stolen every day in Houston. Plus, about 2,800 cars are stolen every month in Texas.

There is something else you can do to stop a thief. It is all in that serial number on your dashboard, your VIN or Vehicle Identification Number.

Sgt. Tracy Hicks from the Houston Police Department added, "All I gotta do when I steal your car is I can put a fake number here."

But, thieves cannot replace a VIN number on your windows. It is etched into the glass.

Hicks said, "This etching prevent a thief from reselling the car? That's exactly what it's for. It's one piece of the puzzle that makes it a whole lot undesirable."

The etching adds one extra layer of security. Some car dealerships charge you for VIN etching when you buy your car. That charge could cost you anywhere from $50 to $200.

However, the Bellaire Police Department is offering free VIN Etching Wednesday, March 9 from 8 to 11 am.

Officer John Edwards with the Bellaire Police Department said, "It's one of those things, they may not wanna pay the dealership price for it and it's nice that we can offer this through a grant, we can offer this for free."
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