South Plains Auto Theft Task Force etching VINs on cars to fight auto theft

Tackling auto theft with VIN etching

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Governor Abbott has designated July as Watch Your Car Month. Texas is 25th in the nation for highest number of auto thefts, according to South Plains Auto Theft Task Force investigator Brian McNeill. He says that Lubbock has a huge impact on that number since its numbers are the highest (per capita) in Texas.

“In June 2019 there were 107 vehicles stolen in Lubbock,” he said. “In 2018, Lubbock had 462.91 auto thefts per 100,000 residents and that’s what ranked us number 1”

According to Lubbock Police, almost half of the cases where vehicles were stolen, people left their keys inside their cars. That’s nearly 500 cars that were stolen with keys left inside last year. Of those, more than 130 were left running and unoccupied.

Now, the South Plains Auto Theft Task Force is trying to bring those numbers down by placing vehicle identification numbers or VINs in more places than just the dashboard or on the inside of the car door. They’re etching the number on glass windows.

“Part of our mandate from the state is to do crime prevention events. Part of what we do is we etch glass with the VIN number to the vehicle. That makes the vehicle less attractive to a chop shop because the glass is part of what they sell after market. If it’s got a VIN, it can be traced back to the original owner where it was stolen.”

They recommend the five-minute etching process. It works with a simple spray to a piece of paper on your window, making the glass absorb the number.

They recommend the five-minute etching process. It works with a simple spray to a piece of paper on your window, making the glass absorb the number.TeTa spare key or keys in your car.

Their next event is in Levelland at South Plains College from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24.

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