The Automobile Club of Southern California’s Anaheim Hills branch will be providing free anti-theft Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching for car windows from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Canyon High School. The car theft prevention event is being held in conjunction with “National Night Out Against Crime,” the Super Bowl of crime prevention observances.
Auto Club members and also non-members can receive the VIN etching on their vehicle windows to make them a less likely target for car theft. Car window VIN etchings are small, but visible enough to deter thieves, according to law enforcement.
The Auto Club, the California Highway Patrol Southern Division and National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) are co-hosting the event with the Auto Club Anaheim Hills branch, and the event will take place in the Canyon High School parking lot, 220 S. Imperial Highway 93807. They also will offer theft prevention as well as vehicle burglary prevention tips to car owners.
Car theft is the number one property crime in America. Law-enforcement officials say the permanent engraving of a vehicle’s federally registered VIN etching helps deter car theft because VIN-etched car parts cannot be sold as easily by thieves. There were 1,119 vehicle thefts in Anaheim in 2011, according to FBI crime statistics collected from cities.
The Auto Club and law enforcement agencies’ tips to prevent vehicle burglary and theft include:
- Always lock your vehicle with the windows closed. Never leave valuables inside the car, especially not in clear view, including small electronics, wallets, checkbooks, garage door opener, personal paperwork or any personal identification.
- Bring electronics and personal items into your home or office whenever possible.
- Use anti-theft or automatic tracking devices. If your vehicle wasn’t equipped with an alarm or hidden tracking device when purchased, have one installed.
- Never leave your keys in your vehicle, even at a gas station.
- Park your vehicle in a well-lit area at night.
- Never hide a spare ignition key in your vehicle, including under floor mats, sun visor, etc.
- Whenever possible, park your vehicle in a secure garage and lock it.
- Never leave the vehicle running at any time when you’re not in it. This includes your driveway, while picking up friends, or while at a grocery store or shopping mall.
- Never put identifying information on your key chain.
- Use a valet keys when valet parking. Some vehicles have special valet keys which can only be used to park your vehicle. Several high performance vehicles also use special keys to limit vehicle speed and engine RPM.
- Never leave your parking ticket stub in your vehicle. Take it with you so an auto thief cannot use it as a "ticket" out of the parking area or structure.
- If you must leave your keys, always remove all other unnecessary keys. While you’re enjoying the show or dining out, a dishonest valet can copy your keys and later burglarize your home or business.