Dane County has seen a recent surge in daytime burglaries over the past week, according to an alert released Friday by the sheriff’s department.

Within the past week, four residential burglaries have occurred in the townships of Dane and Roxbury; each burglary occurred between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. According to the alert, perpetrators have been entering homes with force, if necessary.

“It’s a crime of opportunity,” said Elise Schaffer, spokesperson for the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. “And realize, most people are at school or at work during the day and it’s a time for [burglars] to get into homes when, for the most part, they feel no one is going to be home.”

The office is witnessing an elevated number of burglaries in homes located in “more secluded” areas so there is a lesser chance of getting caught.

Although Shaffer said daytime residential burglary is nothing new, she added her office has seen an increase in this trend over the past year.

“[The economic downturn is] certainly a factor that we look at when we’re investigating these crimes,” Schaffer said. “People are looking for any opportunity to get money and many times taking things that they can easily pawn off for cash.”

Schaffer said Friday evening the sheriff’s office released reverse 911 calls to homes across the townships of Roxbury and Dane.

The calls are sent to a targeted area and contain a recorded message about the burglaries and what to do to prevent them from happening. The calls reached 2,176 homes.

Topf Wells, chief of staff for Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, said the sheriff and county executive are ultimately urging people to be careful.

“You don’t want to insult people’s intelligence but remind them to do obvious things: Be careful about locking doors (and) leaving garages open,” Wells said.

Schaffer said detectives are currently working on the daytime burglary cases and are looking for the public to call in if they see any activity.

If you have information related to past activity, officials ask you to call the Dane County tip line at (608) 284-6900.