Did you know that California is the state with the most stolen cars? To help address this problem, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Escondido branch will provide free anti-theft Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching on car windows from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25.
The Auto Club, the Regional Auto Theft Team (RATT), the Escondido Police Dept. and National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) will co-host the event in the branch parking lot, 800 La Terraza Blvd. They also will offer theft prevention tips to car owners since 606 vehicles were stolen in the city in 2015, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
Members and non-members received 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 officials.
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. It also aids in recovery of stolen cars.
The Auto Club and law enforcement 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, or any store.
- 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.
- If your car is stolen, report it immediately to the police.
More vehicle theft prevention tips:
- 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 revolutions per minute (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.