Car owners concerned about a recent report on auto theft will get some help in preventing it. The vehicle Identification or “VIN” number can be hard to see, so Public Safety Department spokesman Jim Saunders says the Triple-A Auto Club will team with law-enforcement to help owners thwart car thieves with “VIN etching.”

Saunders explains it’s the process of etching your VIN number into the glass of your windshield and also all the car’s windows. While you may not even be able to see it very easily, it’ll make it a lot harder for someone who steals the vehicle to re-sell it, or to put a foreign or fake VIN plate on it.

The glass is costly to replace, Saunders says, especially if the thieves have to put in all new windows and a windshield, and that would cut into their profit margin. The auto-club and law-enforcement team effort’s based on the assumption that it’s likely the marking process will make potential thieves decide against stealing a vehicle marked this way.

This month’s report found the highest area for vehicle theft was Council Bluffs – Omaha, with Des Moines the second in Iowa. Still, nationally the Council Bluffs metro ranked 66th and Des Moines is 174th among cities for the incidence of auto theft.

While Hondas and some other high-end autos are the most often stolen according to national statistics, the Iowa figures are different. The number-one model stolen here is the Chevy Cavalier. It’s a common car to see on the road, and often thieves who steal the cars will “Part ’em out,” Saunders says, taking them apart and selling the car parts to repair shops and dealers.

The number of cars on the road and demand for parts likely is what makes them number-one on the list. Cavalier was followed by the Oldsmobile Cutlass, Ford Taurus, Pontiac Grand Am, and Ford F-150 pickup.