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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    VIN etching this weekend

    The University of Arizona Police Department is hosting free vehicle identification number etching tomorrow at University Boulevard and Cherry Avenue.

    This weekend’s etching event will permanently mark the windows of a vehicle with its unique identification number, the VIN, found on owners’ registration forms and in the lower driver’s corner of all vehicles.

    Etching the VIN onto windows discourages car thieves from stealing a marked car, said Officer Frank Romero, of the UAPD crime prevention office.

    Most thieves know that if they steal an etched car, they would have to replace all of the windows before selling it, Romero said, which requires an investment.

    Etching comes with a free steering wheel lock and free registration for the state’s Watch Your Car program on one of two laptop computers that were purchased with a grant from the Arizona

    Automobile Theft Authority, which runs Watch Your Car, Romero said. The grant, the second in two years, is what makes the program free.

    According to the 2007 Campus Safety and Security Report, car theft dropped in 2006 by 19 percent compared with 2005, though Romero said it is hard to determine the program’s effectiveness.

    Mike Brown, an Allstate Insurance agent, said while there is no discount for having the etching on a car, it is effective.

    “”I think it’s a huge deterrent,”” Brown said, adding that it would also be good if car manufacturers would do VIN etching at the factory.

    Having a car etched takes 15 to 20 minutes.

    The VIN is printed out onto blue film strips on a special printer that makes holes in it, Romero said. He added that it is similar to a stencil.

    After the strips are verified for accuracy and placed on the windows, acid gel is applied and sits for five to 10 minutes.

    Car owners who are already registered with Watch Your Car can still participate and get the free lock, he said.

    “”I got mine done when I got my car,”” said John Barwell, a first year law student. “”The dealership did it.””

    Despite the etching, Barwell leaves his Chevy Silverado at home. “”I think it’s at the top of the list (for auto theft),”” he said.

    UAPD Officer Andrew Valenzuela said car owners can get their car windows etched from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 27 or Nov. 17. Valenzuela recommends making an appointment by calling 621-4219 to avoid delays.

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