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Auto Club, Long Beach Law Enforcement, NICB Fight Car Theft with Window "VIN Etching"

(LONG BEACH , Aug. 10, 2011) – The Automobile Club of Southern California, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Long Beach Police Dept. and California Highway Patrol Southern Division joined today to expand car theft prevention with free vehicle window VIN etching at the Auto Club’s Long Beach branch.   
Window VIN etching consists of stenciling the unique federally-registered 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number onto a vehicle’s front and rear windshields and windows. The process takes about 8 to10 minutes per vehicle to complete.  The stencil only sinks into the top layers of glass marking the windows lightly, but does not weaken the windows. The letters and numbers of the VIN are stenciled onto the windshields, rear windows and passenger windows.
“Window VIN etching makes the vehicle far less desirable to thieves, much more difficult to be disassembled at chop shops and the parts resold for more than the value of the car,” said the Auto Club’s Long Beach Branch Manager Louisa Solis.
If thieves change the VIN plate number on the vehicle’s front dashboard to conceal its identity, then they must also change the etched windows stenciled with the unique vehicle number which costs money and cuts into their profit.  Un-etched windows do not pose that problem for them.
Although auto theft is declining nationwide and in Long Beach due to efforts by law enforcement, it still remains the number one property crime in America.  In 2010, there were 2,190 vehicles stolen in the city, according to the Long Beach Police Dept. and 48,849 thefts (23 percent of registered vehicles) occurred in Los Angeles County, according to the CHP.
The top five most frequently stolen vehicles in Long Beach are: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Acura Integra and Acura Legend.  Most frequently stolen trucks are: Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Econoline and Ford Windstar, according to Long Beach Police Public Information Officer Rico Fernandez. Some vehicles are also targeted by thieves to steal third-row seats in SUVs and factory navigation systems, he added.
“Although viewed as a property crime, most suspects arrested for vehicle theft are frequently involved in other criminal activities,” said CHP Public Information Officer Dion Conley. 
“The Auto Club is pleased to work with Long Beach law enforcement and the NICB to help prevent auto thefts and to help motorists protect their investment,” said Solis.  “For victims, having one’s car stolen is costly, upsetting and inconvenient.”
In addition to window VIN etching, drivers received tips from the Long Beach Police, CHP and NICB to help prevent their cars from being stolen.
For 2010, The Most Stolen Vehicles in the Nation:
1.  1994 Honda Accord
2.  1995 Honda Civic
3.  1991 Toyota Camry
4.  1999 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
5.  1997 Ford F150 Series/Pickup
6.  2004 Dodge Ram
7.  2000 Dodge Caravan
8.  1994 Acura Integra
9.   2002 Ford Explorer
10. 1999 Ford Taurus
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) Hot Wheels Study – 8/2/2011
For 2010, 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.   2003 Toyota Corolla
7.   1999 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
8.   1997 Nissan Altima
9.   1995 Saturn SI
10. 1997 Toyota Pick Up 4 x 2                                                                              
Source:  NICB Hot Wheels Study – 8/2/2011
1.  Honda Accord
2.  Toyota Camry
3.  Honda Civic
4.  Acura Integra
5.  Acura Legend
  1. Chevrolet Tahoe
  2. Ford Econoline
  3. Ford Windstar
*Sources: Long Beach Police Dept., 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.