Task force, police to offer free VIN etching on students’ cars

The Tarrant Regional Auto Theft Task Force is teaming up with TCU Police to offer a free VIN number acid-etching service in the alumni parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday. VIN-etching is an acid-etching process that embeds the VIN number on car windows, said crime prevention officer Pam Christian.

The VIN number is the vehicle identification number found in each car where the windshield meets the dashboard, Christian said.

“The VIN number is printed onto a special adhesive strip, which is covered by an acidic gel,” said Sgt. Steve Safran of the Hurst Police Department. “After a couple minutes, the strip is removed and the number is permanently embedded into the glass.”

VIN-etching is done for the owner’s security and to discourage thieves, Christian said.

“VIN-etching keeps thieves from scrapping parts,” Christian said. “So it is an effective theft deterrent.”

Christian invited the task force to campus after she received numerous requests for a VIN-etching event.

“I get requests all the time,” Christian said. “Once I feel like I have enough people interested to make an event successful, I invite a company to satisfy the requests.”

Although burglaries are more common than theft on campus, VIN-etching will be beneficial for students after graduation, Christian said.

Students such as Keilah Walker, a junior accounting major, are taking advantage of this event.

“I’m a junior and will be graduating soon,” Walker said. “It would be worth it for me to get etched now because it will be useful when I’m out in the real world.”

VIN-etching is offered free by the Hurst Police Department, as well as by the Auto Theft Task Force, and now even comes standard on some new cars, Safran said.

However, students said they are more inclined to do this on campus than find it elsewhere.

“Since it’s made available to me here, it will be so much more convenient for me,” Walker said.

In addition to VIN-etching, TCU will offer registration in the statewide Help End Auto Theft campaign, Christian said.

“HEAT is a voluntary vehicle registration,” Safran said. “Texans can sign this agreement saying that their car is not normally operated between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. If an officer sees this vehicle on the road in Texas they may stop it and ask for ownership verification.”

Also, an addition to this registration form allows students to protect their vehicles from crossing the border.

“They can grant additional authority at that time to have their vehicle stopped any time of day if it is driven from Texas to Mexico,” Safran said.

Students will also receive certificates for their insurance companies.

“Some insurance companies offer price breaks for having an action against theft like VIN etching,” Safran said.