Prevent car theft with glass etching

Phoenix, Arizona ranks #4 on the Top 10 Car Theft Cities list! (2004 National Insurance Crime Office [NICB])

In 2002, Arizona had the highest rate of auto theft in the United States, with the vast majority occurring in Maricopa and Pima counties. According to the Arizona Auto Theft Authority (AATA), “a vehicle theft occurs every nine minutes and 16 seconds.” This causes an estimated economic loss of $3.7 million to Arizona residents in 2002 alone!

Don’t be another statistic!

Help determine theft by engraving your car glass with traceable numbers. This procedure is highly recommended by the NICB, police departments, and insurance companies for its effectiveness. Although vehicle manufacturers mark some parts, it is not enough. By installing permanently visible VIN and serial numbers on the glass of your vehicle, you can greatly reduce auto theft and aid in recovery.

You can visit your local auto dealer or window tinting/glass repair center; or you can do it yourself with an etching kit found on many different websites. In addition to glass etching, the NICB also recommends other popular visible or audible devices, such as audible alarms, steering column locks and collars, wheel locks, anti-theft decals, and automobile identification markers.

Auto glass etching involves chemically marking the car with its own unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on all windows., including sunroofs and T¬-Tops. The chemical etching process involves the use of a mild acid that reacts only with glass. Recording all glass windows makes vehicles less wanted by car thieves. The actual etching is small and does not mark or deface the window, but it is one of the first details most car thieves see before attempting to steal a vehicle.

Recommended areas to be recorded include the following:

  • Front Windshield – Driver Side Lower Corner Based on Factory VIN Number.
  • Side windows: lower corner, near the lock or door handle.
  • Rear Window – Driver Side at Lower Corner or Toward Lower Middle Edge.

Here are the following steps for the glass etching kit for those handy DIY types:

  1. Clean the area to be engraved with glass cleaner – Remove the blue stencils from the white backing paper and apply to the outside of the window glass in the desired locations. Using your fingertips, gently “tap” the stencil to ensure it is in full contact with the glass, paying particular attention to the area where the VIN number has been cut into the stencil.
  2. Apply a film of etching cream – brush both left and right completely covering all characters.
  3. After having applied the etchant cream for 5 to 7 minutes: Carefully remove and dispose of all stencils in a plastic bag or container. Spray the etched area with plain water or glass cleaner and pat dry with a paper towel. Repeat the process for all windows.
  4. warning decals – Apply inside windows in visible places. Suggested location: Near the front door handles.
  5. Fill out the “Proof of Engraving” certificate of insurance.

However, it is recommended that it be done by a licensed professional. as this process requires a very steady hand and must be done under optimal conditions. Do not etch glass in direct sunlight on very hot days, when the temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, or in very windy or humid conditions.

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