The public is invited to an auto theft prevention and awareness presentation from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, July 29 in the lower parking lot of Macy’s in La Cumbre Plaza.

The event will be hosted by the Santa Barbara Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and the Automobile Club of Southern California, Santa Barbara Branch.

The presentation will include free etching of the vehicle identification number on the vehicle’s windows, provided for free. The window etching is faint, and will not interfere with visibility or the window’s integrity.

Auto theft is the top property crime in America. Having the VIN engraved on each window thwarts professional auto thieves from doing VIN switches or stripping expensive parts at unscrupulous auto body shops, also known as “chop shops.”

The etching process takes 10 to 15 minutes per vehicle. Three vehicles can be etched at the same time.

The top five vehicles reported stolen to the Santa Barbara Police Department are 1) Honda Accord, 2) Toyota Camry, 3) Honda Civic, 4) Ford Explorer and 5) Nissan Sentra.

— Paul McCaffrey is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department.