Free VIN etching services offered Thursday - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Free VIN etching services offered for motorists

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If you are looking to protect your vehicle, police and insurance agencies highly recommend that you etch your vehicle identification number (VIN) onto the windshield or windows or your car.

On Thursday, April 18th, AAA Alabama will team up with local law enforcers and provide free VIN etching for interested motorists.

VIN etching is a technique that involves a stencil and etching paste to engrave a vehicle's (VIN) onto the windshield and windows. Experts say if a car's windows are stamped with the VIN, thieves would have to throw away the glass before trying to resell a stolen vehicle and by doing so; it would reduce or eliminate their profit. VIN etching can also increase the odds of recovery of a stolen car by police.

 For more information about the free service, please review the media release posted below.








Birmingham, AL - AAA Alabama is partnering with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and the Hoover Police Department to offer a free Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching theft prevention service to the public. The VIN etching service will be available at the AAA Birmingham Headquarters office (2400 Acton Road – just off I-459) on Thursday, April 18th, 1:00 – 5:00 PM.


Over the past few years, the number of motor vehicle thefts has decreased.  This can be attributed, in part, to vigilance by law enforcement through the use of special programs like the use of bait cars and preventative measures taken by motorists, such as VIN Etching. The use of VIN Etching reduces thefts by making it tougher for thieves to re-sell the vehicle or its parts


VIN etching is chemically stenciling the VIN number permanently and discreetly onto all of the windows of a vehicle. Law enforcement encourages VIN etching and says it often serves as a deterrent to car theft. The process takes approximately 15 minutes per vehicle. Some car dealerships charge as much as $200.00 for the service – AAA Alabama is offering this service for free. This is available as a public service and is available to AAA members and non-members alike.  All a vehicle owner has to do is stop by the appropriate office during the times listed for the event and ask to have it done.


"VIN etching has proven to be a valuable tool in auto theft prevention," says AAA Alabama spokesperson, Clay Ingram.  "This public service event will help to promote proactive safety measures for motorists.  Plus, some insurance companies, such as AAA Insurance, offer a small discount for having the vehicles etched." 


Here are a few stats:

  • Auto theft remains the number one property crime in America.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that a motor vehicle is stolen every 33 seconds in the U.S. – that's more than 794,000 vehicles a year valued at more than $6.4 billion.
  • Statewide Theft Statistics: According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Uniform Crime Reports in 2010 there were 10,600 vehicles stolen in Alabama compared to 12,809, 10 years earlier in 2000 and 14,053 in 1990.  (Source:
  • Worst Alabama City for Vehicle Thefts: The Birmingham-Hoover Metro area led the state in 2010 with the highest number of vehicle thefts at 3,777.  The next highest number of vehicle thefts in the state was in the Mobile Metro area with 1,695 vehicle thefts.  (Source: NICB hot spots 2010 –
  • VIN Etched vehicles have a 64% lower theft rate than non-etched cars (Source: CNN Money reports)
  • VIN Etched vehicles have a more than 85% chance of recovery (Source: CNN Money reports)


"Auto thieves try to identify cars that are easy to steal and leave few traces when it comes to taking them apart at so-called ‘chop shops.'  A car that has its windows VIN etched is less desirable to be illegally re-sold or taken apart for parts," added Ingram.


With ten offices across Alabama and more than one thousand offices nationwide, AAA is North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization. AAA provides travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services to more than 357,000 Alabama members and more than 53 million members nationwide.  Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.  AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at  For more information about this event, contact Clay Ingram at 205-444-8885.



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