VIN Etching

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Vehicle Identification Number Etching

What is VIN etching?

Every vehicle is equipped with a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate on the dash board. These plates can and are being replaced with a new, fake plate by thieves. By etching all the windows on a vehicle with the VIN the thief then has to replace and dispose of marked glass. Disposing of over 100 lbs. of marked glass is a thief’s worst nightmare! The thief sees the etching and then moves to an easier vehicle.

Four reasons to etch your windows:

1) The professional thief is on the lookout for alarms and VIN Etching. If he notices that your vehicle has been etched, he may well move on to another easier target. This is a good reason to also display window warning decals.

2) If the thief plans to resell your car after attempting to change the VIN, now he must replace all the glass at a cost of thousands of dollars. His profit is up in smoke!

3) If the thief runs a "chop shop" operation, dismantling stolen cars for the parts, now he runs the risk of having all these VIN's from stolen cars laying around his shop in complete doors and even amidst broken glass in the corner.

4) When the stolen car is recovered by the police, an etched VIN may be the only solid link to the original vehicle owner.

Etching may also increase the resale value of your vehicle. In some instances, VIN Etching will entitle you to a reduction on your insurance (check with your insurance agent).

How does it work?

Using a computer PDA and printer system, the VIN is printed out on a stencil.


This stencil is applied to the vehicle’s windows (all except small vent windows).


An etching cream (active ingredient - Ammonium Biflouride) is then applied to the stencil.

The stencil is removed from the vehicle’s window after approximately 6 minutes.


The number is etched into the window.


How much does VIN Etching cost?

VIN Etching is offered completely FREE of charge.

We are able to offer this service free to the public because the Victoria Police Department obtained a grant from Texas Department of Transportation (Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority) which funds the VIN Etching program.

What do I need to bring?

In order to have your vehicle etched, you will need to show a current valid driver’s license and proof of insurance card. Also the registered owner will need to be present to sign a waiver for the etching.

When and where do I go to have my vehicle etched?

Periodically the VPD Crime Prevention Officers will hold events around the city/county where the public can have their vehicles etched, or you can call and set up an appointment (available appointment dates and times change without notice).

For more information about having a VIN etching at your event, or to set up an appointment to have you vehicle etched - contact 361-485-3808 or email by clicking this link.