Black Hawk County sheriff's officials are asking rural residents to be extra alert due to an increase of area burglaries.

Authorities said residents should pay close attention to vehicles and suspicious people that appear to be out of place in their neighborhoods. They're also encouraging residents to utilize vacation watch programs that use sheriff's deputies to give homes and property extra attention.

Deputies have been working with Waterloo and Cedar Falls police officers to identify potential suspects, Sheriff Tony Thompson said. Several burglaries have been reported recently across the metro area and in rural parts of Black Hawk County.

“While these burglaries span across jurisdictional boundries, we are leveraging resources and technology to better aid in detecting, tracking, and bringing the suspects to justice,” Thompson said. “In order to help do this, we need the public’s help and vigilance. Many of these rural burglaries have been to residences that the owners are snowbirding south for the winter. Please keep an eye on your neighbor’s property and report anything suspicious quickly.”

Thompson suggested that home-owners should consider investing in alarm and video systems, which are beneficial in helping investigators.