The Texas Automobile Theft Prevention Authority and the Greenville Police Department are sponsoring a free Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching at the Greenville Police and Courts Building 3000 Lee Street in Greenville between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

VIN etching is the process of acid stenciling a vehicle’s 17-digit identification number onto the window glass of the vehicle. The stencil is relatively small and does not hamper the view through the windows in any way. Because the etching is done at the bottom of the windows, it is not obviously noticeable and does not take away from the attractiveness of the vehicle.

VIN etching serves several purposes. First, many thieves will steal a vehicle and change its identity by removing the VIN plate on the dashboard and replacing it with a different one. They will then sell the stolen vehicle to an unsuspecting buyer. By having the identification number placed on additional parts of a vehicle, thieves who might want to change the identity will be deterred knowing they will also have to change out all the window glass in addition to the dashboard VIN plate.

Second, should the vehicle ever be stolen, law enforcement will have an easier time recovering and identifying the vehicle since the identification number is readily available on multiple parts of the car.

And third, VIN etching qualifies insurance consumers for a Level I insurance discount, which can result in a 2 percent to 10 percent discount on the comprehensive portion of an insurance premium, as long as there is not already a theft deterrent on the vehicle that qualifies for the Level I discount.

Those who’d like to participate in the VIN etching program can contact the Texas Automobile Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA) office in Arlington by calling 1-800-CAR-WATCH (800-227-9282)

Help End Auto Theft (H.E.A.T.) registration will also be available. In the H.E.A.T. program the owner of a vehicle gives written permission for an officer to stop their vehicle between the hours of 1 a.m. through 5 a.m. to verify that the vehicle has not been stolen. The owner is given stickers to be placed on the front and back of his or her vehicle. The vehicle is also registered in the Texas Criminal information Computer (TCIC) to show it has been registered in the H.E.A.T. program in case the stickers have been removed.