BOISE -- Homeowners and police are on high alert as a rash of break-ins and burglaries hits East Boise.

They are warning everyone to take extra precautions after an unusually high number of property crimes over the past few weeks. Authorities say homes in and near the Harris Ranch neighborhood are being targeted, and there is a pattern in the suspect - or suspects' - tactics.

Spring Creek subdivision resident Joe Silva was putting tools away in his garage after he came home from a trip. He walked around the corner where his tool bench is, and says he noticed the framing to his rear garage door were laying on the floor.

"And I go, 'we've been broken into,'" Silva added.

He looked around his garage, and, fortunately, nothing was missing.

"So something scared them or startled them and they took off, apparently," Silva said.

His truck was parked in the garage, too, which Silva thinks could have made the burglars think twice. And luckily, the door between his garage and the inside of his house was deadbolted.

Around back on the outside of the rear door, there was a small dent.

"This is where they put the tool against the door and forced it here on the door jam," Silva said as he showed us the mark.

Boise police are taking the unusually high number of cases in the Harris Ranch area seriously, and they say it is possible that this is one individual or a group of suspects.

Sgt. Steve Butler says burglars are targeting homes that appear unoccupied - either when homeowners are at work for the day or on a trip.

"It's entirely possible that the suspect or suspects are basically casing properties and then taking advantage of the circumstances," Sgt. Butler said.

Since the Silvas were broken into, they've added some security measures such as replacing small screws on exterior door latches with longer, 3-inch screws. Silva says that will make it extremely difficult to break the door open, if not impossible without making noise and getting caught.

Whether you are home or not, police and victims say you need to take extra steps to make sure you don't become a victim, too. If you are going out of town, tell your neighbors so they can keep their eyes on anything suspicious.

In addition, consider getting an alarm system or motion-sensor lights around the outside of your house.

"Leave a radio or TV on inside your house, or keep a light on," Sgt. Butler added. "Do things that can confuse the suspect and make them think that perhaps someone is there."

BPD is encouraging you to report any suspicious activities, including solicitors or cars that seem out of place. They're asking you to call Ada County dispatch or 343-COPS.

"If they continue they will be caught because theres a distinctive pattern what they're doing," Silva said. "I hope that they get caught red-handed."

Again, the Boise Police Department is still investigating these separate instances and cannot say if they are related or not.