August 22, 2008 13:33 ET

Update - AAA Texas and the Houston Police Department Partner to Prevent Auto Theft

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwire - August 22, 2008) - AAA Texas and the Houston Police Department (HPD) are partnering to fight auto theft in the Houston area. "Thanks to a grant from the Auto Theft Prevention Authority, AAA Texas and HPD are able to offer this service at no cost to motorists," said Sergeant T.J. Salazar of the HPD Auto Theft Division. Some car dealerships in the area charge as much as $200 for this.

"Auto theft is down 25 percent so far this year, due to the proactive steps that motorists, along with HPD, have been taking to protect their vehicles, and VIN etching is one of the best ways to protect your car," said Salazar. Last year, more than 31,000 motor vehicles were stolen in the Houston area.

VIN -- vehicle identification number -- etching consists of stenciling that number onto all of the windows in a vehicle. On the average the process takes less than 10 minutes per vehicle to complete.

"VIN etching can make the vehicle far less desirable and much difficult to be disassembled at chop shops and the parts resold for more than the value of the car," said AAA Texas Corporate Communications Manager Dan Ronan. "AAA Texas is very pleased to work with our friends at the Houston Police Department to do what we can to prevent auto thefts. AAA Texas and HPD are offering this service at no cost, while at least one car dealership in the Houston area is charging its customers $200.00 to have it done."

Now through September 30, AAA will offer free vehicle VIN (vehicle identification number) etchings at its Houston Galleria District office, 3307 Sage Road (intersection of Sage Road and Richmond Avenue). The free service is available 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday - Fridays and 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturdays.

The top five most stolen vehicles in Texas are 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup, the 1994 Chevrolet Full size C/K 1500 Pickup, the Ford F150 Pickup the Honda Accord and the Honda Civic -- in that order.

In addition to this free service, Houston Police and AAA-Texas will provide drivers with information about "The 5 Top Ways to Prevent Your Car from Being Stolen" and "50 Ways to Watch Your Car."

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