By Mary McGuire

SAINT PAUL, Minn. (WCCO)– At Safe Summer Nights in St. Paul, residents can get a lot of things. Burgers, cold drinks and added protection for their cars.

For the first time, the St. Paul Police Department is offering free VIN number etchings to combat and control car thefts.

“VIN etched vehicles have about a 65% less chance of getting taken,” said Sgt. Jason Brubaker.

Your car’s VIN number is like its fingerprint and authorities use the 17 digits to identify stolen cars. Since they are often split up for parts, a VIN number etching is like a tattoo on your front and back windshield.

Many times, stealing a set of wheels isn’t the only crime committed by these thieves and it’s a problem here. Anywhere from five to 15 cars are stolen each night across the city.

Typically, this service would cost a couple hundred dollars but police are doing these VIN etchings for community members for free at their Safe Summer Nights events.

There’s an added bonus, too: Some insurance agencies offer a deduction on your rate if you have a VIN etching on your car.

“We want criminals to know that we are doing this,” Brubaker said.

St. Paul Police will host “Safe Summer Nights” each Thursday through August, weather-permitting.


Mary McGuire