AAA etches VIN on car windows to deter crime

It's kind of like putting a tattoo on your car.

But this tattoo can deter crime.

"If somebody steals my car they'll have to do a lot of damage to lose all of those," Betty Harding said.

77-year-old Harding is getting her car etched for one reason.

"To protect myself," she said.

For years her crime deterrent has been in her dashboard. Mace and a siren. But now she has her VIN etched on all of her car windows.

"It will help a lot with prevention of crime with my car," Sunny said.

Sunny also has the etchings. A few weeks ago she says her car was broken into, but the only thing that was taken was her peace of mind. AAA Spokesman, Clay Ingram, says his company deals with break-ins frequently.

"It's a really bad experience and anything you can do to avoid that is a great thing," Ingram said.

For Sunny, she says she's doing it to simply make her life easier.

"It's both safety and a precaution," she said. "And hopefully a deterrent so that I don't have to go through the heartache to turn in a report to the insurance company."

AAA says 10,600 cars were stolen in Alabama in 2010. The Birmingham-Hoover area led the state with almost 3,800.

AAA and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office were etching cars for free, Thursday. Normally the 15 minute process can cost up to $200.