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Help stop vehicle theft: Get free VIN etching Sept. 15 in Manassas

Manassas City Police Department, in collaboration with the Prince William County Police Department and the Virginia State Police’s H.E.A.T. Program, will be hosting a “VIN Etching” event for motorists on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012.  The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Walmart parking lot located at 9401 Liberia Ave in Manassas. This will expand the city’s crime prevention services to the community

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching is one of the most effective means to deter auto theft that is currently available.  Etching is a fast, safe and simple process of having a vehicle’s VIN engraved onto its windows using a chemical solution.  Once the VIN has been etched on all the windows, a thief must strip and replace every piece of glass in order to profit from the sale of the stolen vehicle or its parts.  Doing so is a time-consuming and expensive feat, which deters many thieves from stealing VIN-etched vehicles in the first place.

According to the Virginia Uniform Crime Reporting Program, 76 percent of all motor vehicle thefts reported in Virginia occur in the Northern Virginia, Tidewater and Richmond, areas.  Thefts are most likely to occur during weekends from May to August, and in Manassas this statistic is no differen, according to Adrieenne Helms, the city’s crime prevention specialist.

Manassas City witnessed its highest number of motor vehicle thefts in recent history when the number reached 177 in 1998.  Since then, vehicle and motorcycle thefts in the City have decreased steadily, down to 69 thefts in the year 2011.  This reduction can be attributed largely to theft prevention measures that are available to motorists, such as VIN etching.

Typically, it takes less than 15 minutes to have a vehicle’s VIN etched onto the glass – a discreet process which causes no damage whatsoever to the vehicle.  While car dealers regularly charge hundreds of dollars for this service, VIN etching will be offered at no charge to motorists at the Sept.15 event, Helms said.

VIN etching is an optional process that is not available year-round.  Manassas City Police Department encourages all drivers to take advantage of this free crime prevention service to reduce their chances of becoming victims of motor vehicle or motorcycle theft. 

For more information about the Virginia State Police’s H.E.A.T. Program and VIN etching, visit the Virginia State Police’s H.E.A.T. website at or Manassas City’s website at

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