Westerville police are warning residents to keep their vehicles locked and their valuables inside their residences as a rash of car break-ins has hit the city.

According to a press release from the city, thefts from vehicles increased drastically in July, with a variety of items such as purses or stereos stolen. Reportedly 90 percent of the cases resulted from a vehicle being left unlocked with valuables visible from outside the vehicle.

In one case, the vehicle itself was stolen after its owner left the keys in the vehicle overnight.

To help combat the crimes, the department urged residents to call their non-emergency line at 614-882-7444 with information, and released a list of recommended steps to avoid the incidents:

* Keep vehicle windows up and doors locked when parked.

* Always park in well-lit areas.

* Remove all valuable materials from the vehicle or secure them in the trunk.

* Never leave property visible in the vehicle. Purses, laptop computers and electronic equipment are popular items for thieves.

* Park vehicles off the street and in driveways whenever possible. A garage is the best place for a vehicle to be parked.