Newport News, Va. (WAVY) — The Newport News Police Department and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) have partnered up to try to prevent catalytic converter thefts.

In just 15 minutes, participants can get their vehicle identification number (VIN) engraved onto the catalytic converter.

“Our officers that have mechanic skills, will go under the car and engrave the VIN on the converter and paint them based on jurisdictions. So, if one in the future gets stolen, we’ll be able to track it back to which vehicle,” explained NNPD Detective A. Wright.

Paul Compton, with NICB tells 10 On Your Side, that the number of converter thefts has tripled in Richmond and Hampton Roads, in the last year.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in converter thefts, not to mention auto thefts,” said Compton. “It’s not only costing the owner of the vehicle money. It’s also costing the insurance company money because they have to reimburse the owner of the vehicle.”

State Police and USAA are also offering to etch the VIN on all the windows if a fake VIN is created for the car.

“It makes it easier for law enforcement to recover the vehicles,” said Compton.

There is another FREE event scheduled on October 22nd, at the Newport News City Park. Newport News Police will post the registration information on social media, closer to the date.