1. News & Issues
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Crime and Punishment Weekly Polls

Updated As New Polls Are Released


The weekly crime polls cover an assortment of current crime news and criminal issues.

1. 12/24/2009: Balloon Boy Hoax Parents Sentenced

Richard Heene
Chris Schneider / Getty Images
Richard and Mayumi Heene were sentenced for the October 15, 2009, "balloon boy" hoax which they perpetrated in the hopes of landing a deal with a reality television show.

Richard Heene was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 100 hours of community service and four years probation.

Mayumi Heene was sentenced to 20 days in jail and four years probation for her actions.

The judge also said that the couple and children can not receive money from book deals, interviews or any other media source relating to the hoax.

Poll: Does the sentence fit the crime? See Also: Balloon Boy Hoax Photo Gallery

2. 12/17/2009: Holiday Shopping Online

Shopping Online
Millions of people turn to the Internet to do their holiday shopping as a way to avoid long lines, increase selection, read product reviews and take advantage of price comparison sites. But many people still do not feel safe about giving out their personal information and credit card numbers online because of the risk of identity theft.

Poll: How safe do you feel when shopping online?

See also: Five Tips for Online Shopping Safety

3. 12/11/09: Reporting Shoplifting

One of the repercussions of the recession is the cutback in retailers hiring extra holiday employees to help manage the busy shopping season. This cutback was first seen in 2008 and as a result, for the first time in six years, theft in retail stores increased 1.4 percent from 2007 and $36.3 billion was stolen, according to the University of Florida's National Retail Security Survey (NRSS) of 103 major U.S. store chains.

Poll: If you see someone shoplifting, do you report it to the store's personnel? See also: Stores' holiday-time hazard: Shoplifters

4. 12/04/09: Did the Salahis Commit a Crime?

Michaele and Tareq Salahi
Getty Images
Michaele and Tareq Salahi are under investigation for allegedly crashing a White House state dinner for the visiting Indian prime minister. The couple insists they were invited. Spokepersons for the White House say they were not.

The couple did get into the White House and shake hands with the president, without being on the guest list.

Poll: If the investigation determines the Salahis were not invited, should they be charged with a crime?

5. 11/27/09: Holiday Safety

The holiday season is a time when people are easily distracted and thieves are paying complete attention, just waiting for the right opportunity to steal. But there are good safety practices everyone can follow to lesson that opportunity.

Poll: Which of the following precautions do you take most often during the busy holiday season?

6. 11/20/09: Is John "Junior" Gotti Out of the Mob?

John "Junior" Gotti
Mug Shot
Unable to reach a unanimous verdict, the New York jury deciding the fate of John "Junior" Gotti, accused of racketeering, has been sent back to the jury room. This is the fourth trial for Gotti, the previous three all ending in hung juries.

John "Junior" Gotti claims he left the mob over 10 years ago and is innocent of all charges.

Poll: Is John "Junior" Gotti out of the mob? See Also: Mafia Mugshot Gallery

7. 11/13/09: Life Sentences for Juveniles

Life Sentences for Juveniles
This week D.C. Sniper Muhammad was executed, however his teenage accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, was also convicted for murder in Virginia and Maryland. Because he was a juvenile at the time of the shootings, he was not eligible for the death penalty and instead received a life sentence.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether or not life sentences for juveniles are cruel and unusual punishments.

Poll: Do you think life sentences for juveniles should be unconstitutional?

8. 11/06/09: Should Gun Laws be Stricter?

Clip art
A Gallop survey reported in October 2009 shows that the percentage of Americans who feel the gun laws should be stricter is at a new low of 44 percent down by 5 points compared to last year. What is your opinion?

Poll: Should the current gun laws be stricter? See Also: Record-Low Support for Stricter Gun Laws

9. 10/30/09: Death Penalty Appeals Process

Billy Joe Johnson
Mug Shot
Billy Joe Johnson is a white supremacist gangster who was convicted to 45 years in prison for murdering a man, but then later confessed to two more murders and asked for the death penalty. Was Johnson seeking redemption for his crimes? Apparently not, but rather to do his time on death row which he believes will offer him amenities he is currently without.

Also, as his attorney says, Johnson figures by the time the appeal process runs out he'll be 65 or older and will not want to live anyway.

Poll: Does the appeals process for death row inmates take too long?

10. 10/23/09: Naked Man in His Home Arrested

Eric Williamson
Mug Shot
A Virginia man, Eric Williamson, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure for being nude in his home.

According to Williamson, he was in was in his home, packing and going back and forth to his kitchen at 5:30 a.m., in the nude. During that time a woman with her son cut through his lawn and spotted him in the house.

The woman, who was allegedly trespassing on his property, told police she thought Williamson purposely exposed himself to her and her son. Williamson said he never saw the woman and the entire incident took him by surprise.

Should the police drop the charges?
  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. Crime
  4. Crime 101
  5. Issues / Controversies
  6. Crime Polls - Crime and Punishment Weekly Polls 2009

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.