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If it’s marked and registered, check it!

30th April 2007 Print
If it’s marked and registered, check it! Retainagroup, the country’s leading experts in vehicle glass and component security etching, marking and registration systems, is urging people to make just one ‘phone call to identify vehicles that have been stolen, cloned or have fake documents.

Almost 11 million vehicles and close to 60 million windows have been marked by Retainagroup with details and owner information held on the company’s International Security Register (ISR). Each vehicle is marked with a unique code and a 24/7 ‘phone number – and Retainagroup is asking people to use this direct line to the ISR in order to avoid purchasing vehicles that have been stolen or which may have doubtful provenance. There is no charge for this service.

“When considering a used car, or if you’re suspicious about a vehicle parked in your street for example, check the glass to see if it carries our markings,” said Retainagroup’s Wendy Rowe. ”The ISR 24/7 ‘phone number will also be there, and a single call will alert you to any police interest in the vehicle and signal whether something’s not quite right.”

Rowe points out that this is not a substitute for making a full provenance check on a vehicle that you are thinking of buying: “A check with the ISR is fast and immediate. Crucially, you can make a call to 07000 111333 at any time of the day or night, and speak to a real person who can reassure or alert you to potential problems. This includes whether the seller is recorded as the owner on the ISR, whether the vehicle has been reported stolen or if the registration mark matches the chassis number and other details. The police regularly call the ISR to check suspicious vehicles.”

Vehicle security marking has come a long way since Retainagroup, this year celebrating its 25th anniversary, started security marking vehicle glass. Although the concept is simple, the changing pattern of vehicle crime means that window etching with a unique code has evolved into a vital tool in the fight against vehicle crime, making it more relevant and effective today than ever before.

Cars are now much harder to steal without the keys, so obtaining keys in order to steal is the method of choice for professional criminals. But overt Retainagroup and ISR markings are a very effective theft deterrent that make vehicles and components much more difficult and riskier to sell. A Retainagroup marked and registered vehicle is 50 per cent less likely to be stolen in the first place.

Unique code marking is also a powerful tool in detecting cloned vehicles, acting as an independent cross check against other vehicle details such as the registration mark, vehicle identification number (VIN), engine number and so on. It very quickly becomes clear if something doesn’t match, enabling the system to detect crime as well as deter it.

In addition to unique code window etching, Retainagroup also marks many components on behalf of vehicle manufacturers, but it’s the marking of a vehicle’s windows that gives criminals the greatest problem. Although discreet, the marks are visible and virtually impossible to remove. With the inclusion of the ISR 24/7 ‘phone number, criminals are at much greater risk of being caught.

The Association of Chief Police Officers’ Vehicle Crime Intelligence Unit (AVCIS) is keen to see greater use of overt marking (readable without specialist or workshop equipment). AVCIS believes that it benefits law enforcement and the detection of stolen vehicles at the roadside and that it aids identification when stolen vehicles are broken up or containerized. This is especially true when registration, engine and vehicle identification numbers (VIN) have been removed or changed.

Retainagroup has recently added Subaru and Daihatsu to the 12 other manufacturers that use the system as standard, at no additional cost to owners.

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If it’s marked and registered, check it!