There’s spring cleaning, then there’s spring protection.
Police officers from the local precincts are offering tips to Brooklynites on how to protect their property and their identity.
A constant problem during the warm weather months has been the theft of bicycles in Marine Park.
To help locals recover their bikes if they are stolen, the 63rd Precinct engraves an identification number into the bicycle’s frame.
A similar practice is available for drivers looking to protect their automobiles.
Officers will chisel a vehicle identification number (VIN) into the glass of automobiles.
To complete the process, which takes just five to ten minutes, cops type a VIN onto a stencil then attach it to the glass. A mild acid is applied to the stencil to make the number unnoticeable to the naked eye.
According to police, one in ten cars without VIN-etching is stolen.
If a car is stolen but ultimately recovered by cops, the VIN would allow the automobile to be traced back to its rightful owner.
VIN numbers can also be etched into a car’s airbags.
The goal of this practice is to decrease their value, in turn, preventing theft.
To further protect drivers, police also offer a Combat Auto Theft (CAT) program, in which a yellow decal is attached to the window of a car.
The decal indicates that the car is not normally operated between 1-5 a.m. and gives cops the authority to investigate if it is driven during those hours.
All of these programs are free of charge.
The NYPD is also offering tips on how to prevent identity theft.
To prevent your credit card information from falling into the wrong hands, all documents and junk mail should be properly destroyed before being tossed in the trash.
The best way, cops say, is to run all documents listing your name, address or other personal information through a shredder.
You can also put an end to credit card companies sending pre-approved credit offers to your home by contacting 1-888-5-OPTOUT.
Another way to safeguard your information is to install a locked mailbox or create mail slots in front doors.
For further protection, checks, including social security and pension, can be deposited electronically at banks rather than having them directly sent to homes.
To register or learn more about the 63rd Precinct’s VIN-etching programs, contact the precinct’s crime prevention unit at 718-258-1505.