Free VIN etching scheduled May 5

Henrico County Police Division, in partnership with the Virginia State Police H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) program and Virginia Center Commons, will provide free "VIN" (Vehicle Identification Number) glass etching on Saturday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Virginia Center Commons Mall, 10101 Brook Road, Glen Allen.

The free H.E.A.T. VIN etching is part of a regional initiative to combat auto theft by providing free chemical glass etching and by distributing free auto theft prevention materials. The event will not be held if there is inclement weather, and there is no rain date.

The VIN etching process takes less than 15 minutes, not counting the time spent in the queue line. All vehicles in the queue by 2 p.m. will be included in the VIN etching program. VIN-etched vehicle owners may also receive car insurance discounts and should contact their insurance companies for more information.

Each VIN is a 17-character combination of numbers and letters that is unique for and included on every vehicle manufactured since 1981. It sets each vehicle apart from millions of other vehicles . VIN’s were standardized in the early 1980s. Prior to this time, VIN’s were unique, but they varied in length and format. Today, each character of the standard 17-digit VIN has a particular purpose. VIN’s can be used to track recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts, and insurance coverage.

Permanently marking these numbers on a vehicle's windows discourages thieves from stealing etched vehicles because they must strip and replace VIN etched windows before they can dispose of the car. VIN etching also removes any potential profit for professional thieves who sell vehicle windows and windshields to “chop shops.” VIN etched vehicles have a 64 percent lower theft rate than not etched cars and if stolen have a more than 85 percent chance of recovery.

For details about the H.E.A.T. VIN Etching, call Henrico Police Investigator John Gregg, Jr. at 501-4829 or Crime Prevention Officer Larry Belviso at 501-5236.
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