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Police - Prevention and Education

Auto Theft Prevention

Professional thieves can steal any car, but make them work for yours.

To prevent thefts, the Glendale Police Department and the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority (AATA) recommends "Layered Protection." The more layers of protection on your vehicle, the more difficult it is to steal.

The number of layers your vehicle needs varies depending on your vehicle and geographic location. Your budget and personal preferences should determine which anti-theft device is best for you.

Layer #1:

  • Common Sense
    An unlocked vehicle with a key in the ignition is an open invitation to any thief, regardless of which anti-theft device you use. The common sense approach to protection is the simplest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves.

  • Secure your vehicle by:
    • Removing your keys from the ignition.
    • Locking your car.
    • Closing all your windows.
    • Parking in well-lit areas.
    • Parking in attended lots.
    • Not leaving your car running.
    • Not having valuables visible in the car.
    • Not hiding a spare set of keys on or in the car.
    • If you have a garage, use it.

Layer #2:

  • Warning Device
    The second layer of protection is a visible or audible device, which alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected.

  • Popular second layer devices include:
    • Audible alarms.
    • Steering wheel locks.
    • Steering column locks.
    • Window VIN etching.
    • Theft deterrent decals.
    • Brake locks.
    • Wheel locks.
    • Laminated glass.

Layer #3:

  • Immobilizing Device
    This third layer of protection is a device, which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity of fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated.

  • Popular third layer devices include:
    • Smart keys.
    • High security locks & keys.
    • Kill switches.
    • Starter, ignition and fuel disablers.

Layer #4:

  • Tracking Device
    The final layer of protection is a tracking device, which emits a signal to a police or monitoring station when the vehicle is reported stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles.

Experiencing a problem in your area with car theft? Contact your CAT to schedule an Auto Theft Presentation for your Neighborhood Watch or community group.

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Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Etching

Got a few minutes? Take the time to bring your vehicle to one of the three VIN etching events that the Glendale Police Department offers for free. VIN etching is the process of permanently etching the vehicle’s 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number on each window on the vehicle.

Why should you consider VIN Etching on your vehicle as a visual deterrent against auto theft? When a vehicle is stolen, the thief must change the identity of the vehicle by changing the VIN plate on the dashboard. With a new VIN plate in place, he now has a new vehicle, but with a vehicle that has been etched, the thief must replace each piece of widow glass. This extra work and expense may cause a thief to think twice about your car and move on to a car that’s not etched.

In order to get your car etched, you just need to show proof of ownership, current registration and complete a consent form provided by the police department.


  • Saturday, September 28th  8:00 a.m. until 12:00 pm at Glendale Community College, 6000 W. Olive Avenue

Contact Crime Prevention Specialist Chuck Eberspacher at (623) 930-4052 or email for further details.


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See an abandoned vehicle?

Assist law enforcement in locating stolen vehicles.

Now the public has the opportunity through the Arizona Attorney General’s Web site:

This site is not intended to be used for reporting stolen vehicles. Use this site to enter either license plate or VIN information to find out if an abandoned vehicle is stolen. We strongly recommend that you do not take personal action with regard to any vehicle listed on this site.

To report stolen vehicles or suspicious activity in Glendale, contact the Glendale Police Department’s Auto Theft Hotline at (623) 930-3353.

Top 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles
1. Honda Accord
2. Honda Civic
3. Dodge Ram Pickup
4. Nissan Sentra
5. Chevrolet C/K 1500 Pickup
6. Dodge Neon
7. Ford F-Series
8. Saturn SL
9. Nissan Altima
10. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

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