Just this past week a crib purchased on Cyber Monday was stolen from the porch of an expecting mother in North Minneapolis.

It's that time of year when many of us are expecting Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other holiday packages to arrive in the mail. Unless otherwise specified with the mail carrier, those packages are usually left on a front porch or exposed location, sometimes for hours at a time, making for prime targets of "porch pirates."

If you have online purchases or any other holiday packages on the way you're expecting to receive at home, here are some tips for protecting them against unsavory characters:

1. Ship things to an Amazon locker, a UPS or FedEx store or to your work. If you do ship to work, you might make sure your boss is cool with you receiving personal mail there first.

2. Ask your neighbors for help. If you have a neighbor who's retired or works from home, see if they'd be willing to receive mail on your behalf or come over and pick it up after it's been delivered.

3. Request a signature delivery. This ensures that you or someone you trust receives it; it could also mean, however, that if no one's home you'll find yourself waiting in a long line at the Post Office to retrieve it.

4. Track packages online. You can also sign up for delivery notifications so you know details like whether a package has been delayed or confirmation that it's been delivered.

5. Install security cameras. This one will obviously cost you, but it may very well be worth it. You'll have proof for yourself that a package has been delivered -- or stolen -- plus a security camera may dissuade someone from taking anything.

6. Make it look like you're home. Leaving lights on (or on a timer), leaving a vehicle in the driveway, and other small changes can make it look like someone's home.

Here's to hoping all your holiday packages arrive!