HOUSTON - Look around just about any neighborhood this time of year and you'll see merchandise sitting right out in the open.

People working in crime prevention have some simple advice if you want to protect the merchandise that you purchased online from being stolen from your doorstep.

Have a place where it's easily concealed, where the packages can be either behind a locked gate or maybe behind a wall. Somewhere that they can't be seen from the street, Katherine Cabaniss with Crime Stoppers of Houston said.

You could also ask your neighbors to pick up your packages or have them delivered to where you work. This way the grinches cannot steal your holiday presents.

You could also go the extra mile and have surveillance cameras installed, but that will cost you.

I guess the first question you've got to ask is, 'Do you want them to know the camera is there or not?' Chris Macha, of Electronic Parts Outlet, said. Some people take two different approaches. One is they want to disguise the camera and not have anyone know that it's there. And other people want the camera to be very obvious and seen.

A surveillance camera might not chase the thieves away, but look at this way: At least you will have a picture of the suspects taking your stuff.

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