Columbus police are warning residents that criminals out to make a quick buck are targeting cars.

Columbus police are warning residents that criminals out to make a quick buck are targeting cars.

Recently, there has been a 30 percent increase in car break-ins, with more break-ins reported in nearly all areas of the city, in both commercial areas and in residential neighborhoods, said Sgt. Rich Weiner, spokesman for the Columbus Division of Police.

"We have our crime analysts who are constantly monitoring our reports, and they have noticed a sharp increase," Weiner said. "It's widespread."

Weiner could not give exact figures on the percentage increase.

Police often see an increase in car break-ins and other crimes during the summer, he said, but they aren't sure what has caused the recent spike.

"Some people say the economy, others say it's just easier than other things," Weiner said.

Items being taken include GPS units and accessories, clothing, shoes, purses and CDs -- basically, Weiner said, anything that can be resold at consignment shops or on the Internet.

"All of those can be sold at a minimum price," he said. "People aren't looking to strike gold."

Police are trying to spread the word about the increase in car break-ins, Weiner said, and they are encouraging people to place anything left in their cars out of site of passers-by.

Items left in plain view offer criminals walking through a parking lot or along a street with the perfect opportunity, Weiner said.

"You can punch in a window and get in and get out," he said. "The idea is to make it as unattractive as possible. Keep things hidden and out of site."