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Auto Club, Law Enforcement Team Up to Prevent Vehicle Theft with Window Etching

(CHULA VISTA, Feb. 26, 2010) – With San Diego County ranked fourth in the nation for the number of auto thefts, the Automobile Club of Southern California, National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) and California Highway Patrol’s Border Division joined this week to fight this crime through free window VIN etching for motorists. 
The organizations offered free window VIN (vehicle identification number) etching at the Chula Vista Elks Lodge #2011 with 130 vehicles etched.
VIN etching consists of stenciling the unique vehicle identification number onto a vehicle’s windshields and windows. The process takes about 10 minutes per vehicle to complete.
The letters and numbers of the VIN were stenciled and rubbed onto the windshields and windows of Auto Club members and policyholders as well as car owners.  The stencil only sinks into the top layers of glass marking the windows lightly, but does not weaken the windows.
Although auto theft is declining nationwide and in San Diego, it still remains the number one property crime in America.  Last year, there were more than 10,000 motor vehicles stolen in the city of San Diego. Countywide, according to the CHP Border Division, 21,863 vehicles were stolen in 2008, compared to 27,073 stolen in 2007, a 19 percent drop in car thefts. (The National Insurance Crime Bureau stolen vehicle statistics are different due to drawing from the larger federal metropolitan area rather than the actual county geographic area.)
The top five most stolen vehicles in the San Diego County area are:  2000 Honda Civic, 1998 Honda Civic, 1995 Honda Civic, 1990 Honda Accord, 1996 Honda Accord  –in that order. 
“Although viewed as a property crime, most suspects arrested for vehicle theft are also involved in a myriad of other criminal activities,” said Capt. Lisa Wrobel of the CHP.
“Window VIN etching makes the vehicle far less desirable to thieves, much more difficult to be disassembled at chop shops by car thieves and the parts resold for more than the value of the car,” said the Auto Club’s Chula Vista Branch Manager Dave Turner.  “The Auto Club is pleased to work with San Diego law enforcement to help prevent auto thefts and to help motorists to protect their investment.  For victims, having one’s car stolen is costly, upsetting and inconvenient.”
In addition to window VIN etching, drivers who attended the event received tips from the CVPD and CHP to help prevent their cars from being stolen and AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility directories so they can locate a mechanic for their vehicle maintenance.
The window etching program also extends the partnership of San Diego’s Regional Auto Theft Task Force of which most of the entities, including the Auto Club, are members.
For 2008, The Most Stolen Vehicles* in the Nation:
 1.  1994 Honda Accord    
 2.  1995 Honda Civic     
 3.  1989 Toyota Camry    
 4.  1997 Ford F-150 Pickup   
 5.  2004 Dodge Ram Pickup    
 6.  2000 Dodge Caravan    
 7.  1996 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee   
 8.  1994 Acura Integra    
 9.  1999 Ford Taurus    
10.  2002 Ford Explorer
*Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau
For 2008, California’s Most Stolen Vehicles*
1.   1991 Honda Accord                                                                                         
2 .   1995 Honda Civic                                                                                             
3.   1989 Toyota Camry                                                                                          
4.   1994 Acura Integra                                                                                           
5.   1994 Nissan Sentra
6.   2007 Toyota Corolla
7.   1988 Toyota Pickup 4 x 2
8.   1997 Ford F150 Pickup
9.   1995 Saturn Si
10. 1997 Nissan Altima                                                                                          
*Source:  National Insurance Crime Bureau
1.  2000 Honda Civic
2.  1998 Honda Civic
3.  1995 Honda Civic
4.  1990 Honda Accord
5.  1996 Honda Accord
*Source: Chula Vista Police Dept., CHP and Automobile Club of Southern California
CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Automobile Club of Southern California. All Rights Reserved.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.