Auto Club, Safety Partners Fight Car Theft With Window VIN Etching

2013 ACSC Vin Etch Hawaiian shirts

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the Ventura County Auto Theft Task Force (VENCATT), which includes the California Highway Patrol, the Simi Valley Police Dept., and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) teamed today to expand car theft prevention with free vehicle window VIN etching at the Simi Valley Police Dept.  

Window VIN etching consists of stenciling the unique federally-registered 17-digit VIN onto a vehicle’s windshields and windows. The process takes about 6-8 minutes per vehicle.  The stencil lightly marks the top layers of glass, but does not weaken the windows.

“Window VIN etching makes a vehicle less desirable to thieves, because the process make disassembly at a chop shop more difficult and the parts less able to be resold,” said the Auto Club’s Simi Valley Branch Manager Therese Romanchuk.     

If thieves change the VIN plate number on the front dashboard of a vehicle, then they must change the etched windows that are stenciled with the unique vehicle number which costs money and cuts into their profit.  Un-etched windows do not pose that problem.

Although auto theft is declining nationwide, it remains the number one property crime in America.  The CHP Vehicle Thefts Facts noted 1,820 car thefts in Ventura County in 2017 and 1, 353 vehicles taken so far in 2018.  The Simi Valley Police Dept. saw 118 vehicles stolen so far in 2018 in its jurisdiction, while in calendar year 2017 there were 112 vehicles taken.  California was the top state again for auto thefts in 2017, with the theft tally at 175,351, a rate of one vehicle stolen every three minutes and valued by the FBI as a $1.3 billion loss.  Top stolen vehicles were late 1990s and early 2000s Honda Accord and Civic. 

“Although viewed as a property crime, most suspects arrested for vehicle theft are also involved in other criminal activities,” said Simi Valley Police Dept. Public Information Officer Steve Shorts.  

“Some vehicles are also targeted by car thieves to steal third-row seats in SUVs, airbags, in-car entertainment and factory navigation systems and paperwork to steal identities,” said VENCATT’s California Highway Patrol Sgt. Annie Vaught. 

“The Auto Club is pleased to work with VENCATT and the National Insurance Crime Bureau to help prevent auto thefts and to help motorists protect their vehicle investment,” said Romanchuk.  “For victims, having one’s car stolen, and contents, is costly, upsetting and inconvenient.”

“Working together, law enforcement and organizations like the Auto Club are able to help educate our community to better protect themselves from being victimized by car thieves,” said the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Mark Lupoli.

Most Stolen Vehicles Nationwide - 2017:

Rank

Make/Model

Model year most stolen /
(# thefts)

Total model thefts

1

Honda Civic

1998  (6,707)

45,062

2

Honda Accord

1997  (6,301)

43,764

3

Ford Pickup (Full Size)

2006  (3,151)

35,105

4

Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)

2004  (1,970)

30,058

5

Toyota Camry

2017  (1,100)

17,278

6

Nissan Altima

2016  (1,450)

13,358

7

Toyota Corolla

2016  (1,012)

12,337

8

Dodge Pickup (Full Size)

2001  (1,242)

12,004

9

GMC Pickup (Full Size)

2017     (957)

10,865

10

Chevrolet Impala

2008     (991)

9,487

California's Most Stolen Vehicles - 2017: 

 

Rank

Make/Model

Year

1

Honda Civic

1998

2

Honda Accord

1997

3

Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)

2004

4

Ford Pickup (Full Size)

2006

5

Toyota Camry

1991

6

Toyota Corolla

2016

7

Honda CR-V

1999

8

Acura Integra

1994

9

GMC Pickup (Full Size)

2017

10

Nissan Altima

2016

Media Contacts

Elaine Beno
(714) 885-2324
Beno.Elaine@aaa-calif.com