Portugal´s only registered non-profit crime prevention association providing dedicated information and support services to the community

10th May 2018


Our many thanks to those of you who have subscribed for this newsletter. Our aim is to create awareness and where appropriate include tips and advice that can help in maker our community more secure and safer.

As you may have seen from media reports, Safe Communities Portugal has entered into an agreement, through the signing of a protocol, with the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI).

The protocol includes the development of the Safe Communities websites to provide advice to foreign tourists in the Algarve, produce and distribute information leaflets, the holding of seminars etc, as well as provide informational content to develop communications media, as part of crime prevention action.

These are the four areas of the Protocol of Collaboration, signed on 26th April 2018 in Lagoa, by the Secretary of State Assistant  of Internal Administration Isabel Oneto and myself.

This protocol is a very important step forward as it clearly demonstrates the importance by central government in ensuring that the Algarve is a safe place for tourists as well as all residents. 

This is our first protocol with a ministry, which facilitates direct dialogue with them on the formulation of ideas and further initiatives, based on the needs of the foreign community and tourists alike. It will also enable us to focus in, a more comprehensive way, on providing  advice taking into account different cultures and languages of visitors to ensure understanding and awareness"

We will keep you up to date with the various projects that arise from this during the coming months.

Another development is a further expansion concerning the government's advice regarding fuel management (land cleaning). We have now consolidated all the information contained in various downloads and our Definitive Guide into land cleaning, into a single easy to read web page. To find out more concerning the laws, government advice, fuel management ranges, and burning of debris, please visit our page here. We are continuing to update this section based on government advice. 

IMPORTANT - Please note that there are some non-government entities providing information on this subject, with no government mandate in the area of civil protection, and in several instances the information published is incorrect. Safe Communities Portugal has a national protocol with ANPC, and works closely with the Ministry of Internal Administration and the ICNF in Lisbon, so we try to ensure our information is validated before publication. 

As you will see there are plenty of crime prevention tips and advice, perhaps the most important being yet another reminder concerning safety in the burning of debris. Whereas I am sure readers will take the proper precautions, there are others who clearly do not. You can help in that if you see what is clearly an incident involving the burning of debris which is clearly unsafe then report it to 112. This simple measure could help protect life and property. 

We thank all our sponsors for your help in enabling us to continue to do the work that we do. Thank you Destination Algarve, Algarve Getaways, TUI and Avalon Funeral Plans for sponsoring this new sletter.

To learn more about how to sponsor a newsletter by becoming one of our supporters please contact us on 913045093 or at   info@safecommunitiesportugal.com

David Thomas
Safe Communities Portugal


1.3 tons of cocaine from Colombian drug traffickers seized in Lisbon

Portuguese police were involved in a transnational operation that resulted in the seizure of 2.3 tonnes of cocaine from Colombia in Portugal and Spain and the detention of 11 people.

The Colombian Attorney General's specialized anti-drug director, Ricardo Carriazo, told the press that 1.3 tons were seized in the outskirts of Lisbon and the rest in Spain, in the border provinces of Badajoz and Cáceres.

Among the detainees who collaborated with the "Gulf Clan," Colombia's largest criminal group, of paramilitary origin, are seven Colombians, three Poles and one Spanish, said Ricardo Carriazo.

A person accused of sending the drugs to Europe was also detained in Cartagena de Indias.
The method used by this group consisted of gathering the drug in this port in the Caribbean, and then by sea to Algeciras, Spain, in different types of boats.

However, in this case they transported the cocaine by air to Lisbon, from where they intended to take it to Spain, through several vehicles. In the operation 11 vehicles and 25,600 euros were also seized.

"With the information obtained from the investigations, the support of the US Agency (DEA) and the intervention of the police in Spain and Portugal, the so-called 'Containment Wall' which seized almost two and a half tons of cocaine, "Carriazo said.

Carriazo added that this was the third major seizure of cocaine in Europe that was made with information contributions from several countries.

Last week, six people, including two businessmen and a civilian guard, were detained for involvement in the smuggling of nearly nine tonnes of cocaine seized in a container with bananas in the port of Algeciras, in what was the largest shipment seized in a container in the Europe.

Permanent Intervention Teams reinforce Civil Protection system

The Permanent Intervention Teams - namely professional fire teams that are designed to carry out missions in the scope of Civil Protection - will be extended to another 79 municipalities, reinforcing the Civil Protection system.

The protocols for the constitution of these teams were signed in Fornos de Algodres between the National Civil Protection Authority, the Humanitarian Associations of Volunteer Firefighters and the Municipalities.

"This set of protocols corresponds to the fulfilment of one of the objectives of the Government: the strengthening of the professionalization of the system. We are doing it on many fronts. At the moment we have reached about 280 professional teams in the fire department. Let's add another 40 by the end of the year, "said the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Eduardo Cabrita added that, at present, 219 municipalities on the mainland already have professional firefighting structures.

The Minister added there were "more than 1,300 firefighters with professional status supported by the National Civil Protection Authority".

"By the end of the year, I think we will reach 1500. 
New National Operations Commander ANPC

António Paixão, the national operations commander of Civil Protection, resigned on Monday 7th May 2018 after a five-month term and has been replaced by Coronel Duarte Costa.

A government statement reads: "The Secretary of State for Civil Protection, Jose Artur Neves, has appointed the Coronel Tirocinado José Manuel Duarte da Costa to perform the functions of National Operations Commander of the National Command of Relief Operations of the National Authority of Civil Protection, on the proposal of the President of the Authority National Civil Protection, Lieutenant-General Carlos Mourato Nunes.

According to the note, the resignation of António Paixão are for personal reasons. 

Colonel Duarte da Costa, is Chief is of Staff of the Land Forces Command, and responsible for the planning and execution of the operational activity of the land component of the Armed Forces and among its competencies is the planning of the Army's actions in the fight against fires.

Top stories

Security Eurovision Song Contest
Please note the following information for those attending the event.

Thousands of police will ensure the safety of the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, with the help of more than 20 video surveillance cameras.

In the operation by the PSP, presented at the Metropolitan Command of Lisbon, Mayor Luis Moreira said that this is a "great event" with a "very large media projection" and "whose level of threat has been calculated."

"The size of the event, implies the adoption of exceptional safety measures, using the experience of previous events," said Luís Moreira.

"This is a very large operation that involves risks with a very large media projection," he said. "All the expertise of the Special Police Unit will be on the ground ready for day-to-day operations."

Asked about possible terrorist acts, Luís Moreira added that the authorities are prepared for "any eventuality", ensuring that it is not "new" since PSP has "had this concern in mind since the first attacks that use vehicles against crowds took place." "Together with the City of Lisbon we will implement physical barriers so that, even if these attacks cannot be prevented, at least the effects can be minimised", he said.

Regarding video surveillance, authorities have already announced that the 17 cameras are already authorised in Parque das Nações in Lisbon during the Eurovision Song Contest, and five more are expected to be allowed in the Praça do Comércio area, where Eurovision is set up 

Present at the press conference was also PSP Intendent Ana Nery, responsible for security at Parque das Nações, who explained that the security operation was divided into five phases and will only end on May 15.

"Access control is very tight. We have x-ray, personal magazines and metal detector portals," said Ana Nery, taking the opportunity to advise those who will attend the semi-finals and the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. He expects to be transmitted to 250 million people. Peoplec should arrive early taking into account "the security measures that have to be carried out" and to take as few belongings as possible.

The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the biggest overhaul of data privacy laws in over 20 years.

On the 27th of April 2016, the European Parliament and the European Council published the General Data Protection Regulation - GDPR (repealing the existing Directive 95/46/EC), on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (In Portugal, the GDPR will come in to force on the 25th of May of 2018.

Among other (many) modifications, according to such Regulation, it will no longer be necessary to ask for authorisation from the Data Protection National Commission (Comissão Nacional de Proteção de Dados) in order to install CCTV systems.

Nevertheless, an internal law is soon to be approved in the Assembly (Assembleia da República). That law will clarify or specify some of the new obligations and procedures.
For those interested in the GDPR Regulation approved in 2016 it can be accessed in English here.

We have been advised to await the publication of the internal law by the Assembleia da República regarding interpretation of the Regulation new order.

For those interested in the impact of the European new regulation on Portuguese organisations, please check Proteco-dados.pt 

Most wanted British fugitive, Jamie Acourt, captured in Barcelona  

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives, Jamie Acourt, was captured in Barcelona on 4th May following a joint National Crime Agency, Met Police and Spanish National Police operation.
Armed officers detained Acourt after he left the Metropolitan Sagrada Familia Gym this afternoon.
The 41-year-old from south London, who was wanted by the Met Police, is believed to be involved in the large-scale supply of drugs.

He is the 81st fugitive to be located out of 96 publicised through Operation Captura - the multi-agency initiative between the NCA, Crimestoppers and the Spanish authorities.

Acourt, who was apprehended on a European Arrest Warrant, will now appear at court in Madrid early next week for an extradition hearing.

Ian Cruxton, Head of International Operations for the NCA, said:  "Acourt thought he could evade capture but as a result of an intelligence-led operation his days on the run have ended. We were able to direct the Spanish authorities to his location in Barcelona.

"Our ability to share information and work at speed with our international partners ensures there is no safe haven for fugitives. We will never stop pursuing these individuals."


As Operation Captura reaches its 10th anniversary, 10 more of the most wanted British fugitives believed to be hiding in Spain's expat communities have been revealed in a new appeal and have been added to the existing ten fugitives - they are wanted in connection with crimes including murder, child sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, fraud, money-laundering and serious assault.

It is possible that some of those on the wanted list may have crossed the boarder into Portugal.

The details of those wanted can be seen on the Crimestoppers Captura website here 

If you recognise any of these persons please report this. You can do so anonymously using the contact details on the website

Breaking News

Fire alerts to be sent by SMS to the population
Prime Minister António Costa announced on 9th May during the biweekly debate that the Civil Protection will begin to send alerts to the population through mobile phone messages (SMS).

According to the leader of the Executive the measure takes effect "next June 1".  The initiative was announced by the prime minister in response to a question from André Silva, MP of the PAN.

André Silva added that "the measure is fundamental to prevent tragedies such as those that happened on the national roads near Pedrógão Grande." 

In addition, according to Público, the National Data Protection Commission has already authorised the National Civil Protection Authority to use personal traffic and customer location data to send the messages.

The same source ensures that the procedure will only take place when there is a danger of forest fires and has been declared the highest level of alert - red. It should be recalled that it had already been reported in February that the authorities, Anacom, operators, Civil Protection, radios and televisions would be working and putting together a project aimed at alerting the population to catastrophes. 

"Best practices already followed in other countries where warning systems are being used will be taken into account for the population potentially affected by the occurrence or imminence of a major accident or catastrophe (forest fires, tsunamis, adverse weather phenomena, floods, dams, radiological emergencies, industrial accidents, terrorist attacks, etc.), with the aim of providing information on the event in question and on the self-protection measures to be adopted, "Anacom said. 


The matter of more effective communication with the population in the event of fires was raised by SCP with the ANPC in Lisbon in June and November last year with specific proposals being put forward. In April 2018 in a meeting with the Secretary of State for Civil Protection this specific initiative was discussed.

Resignation of Director of National Cyber Security Centre (CNCS)
The coordinator of the National Centre for Cybersecurity (CNCS), Pedro Veiga, resigned from office, on 9th May, the cabinet of the Minister of the Presidency and Administrative Modernization said in a statement to Lusa.

The appointment of the replacement will be announced shortly, according to information from the office of Maria Manuel Leitão Marques.

The minister of the Presidency, thanked Pedro Veiga "for his invaluable contribution in this area, during these two years".

Pedro Veiga is a pioneer of the Internet in Portugal, a professor in the Department of Informatics of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (FCCN) and was the head of the CNCS since its formation in 2016.

His decision comes on the first day of the national cybersecurity exercise in Lisbon., which is being held by the CNCS   to test the "preparedness" of several public and private entities to a cyber attack.

Pedro Veiga, is a pioneer of the Internet in Portugal, a professor in the Department of Informatics of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (FCCN).


Cafes sell passwords for illegal online gambling
Officials investigating tax evasion say this practice exists across the country; those involved receiving lots of money, but the State receives nothing.

Illegal gambling is increasing at such a speed that authorities are having difficulty detecting terminals and gamblers. The most recent trend is the use of sites identical to legalized bookies in commercial establishments, especially cafes, where players are given a login that will allow them to place their bets.

The trend is being felt throughout the country and it is mainly young people who bet on-line through games. As entry to sites can be done using any device - whether fixed or portable computers, tablets and smartphones - and in any place, it becomes increasingly difficult for the authorities to target these organisations., according to the Unit of Fiscal Action of the GNR.

At the same time the state loses millions of euros in taxes. The authorities have no estimate of the revenues generated by illegal gambling in Portugal. The GNR however, which has a specific competence in the investigation of tax fraud, states that between 2016 and 2017, they dismantled three organisations which, together, obtained 35 million euros in gross revenue. One of them, in a single year, earned 17 million from the exploitation of the illicit game.

The GNR source added that "We have noticed that fraudulent schemes are increasingly complex with the use of electronic platforms that can generate much greater profits than they had until some time ago". They use network connections for parallel online sports betting. They have a server - usually installed overseas - to which other computers are allowed to connect, using access passwords to enter the site and play. 

There is also a sports betting scheme identical to the Placard [the game explored by Santa Casa da Misericordia of sports betting] and illegal scratch cards.
Safe Communities Activities


Between May 24 and 26, the Portimão Arena and the Fair and Exhibition Park will once again be the stage for ALGARSAFE - the International Civil Protection and Relief Fair of Portimão, an initiative co-organized by the Portimão Camara and the Firemen of Portimão, supported by Civil Protection Portimão; Junta da Freguesia of Portimão; APSEI, Liga dos Bombeiros Portuguese (Union of Portuguese Firemen); National School of Firemen and Safe Communities Portugal.

This will be the largest fair south of the Targus, regarding public safety services and civil protection services, involving safety and health agents, as well as the operators of the whole system of protection operations. There are around 100 exhibitors, 50 activities and some 10,000 people are expected over the 3 day period.

On the first day Thursday 24th May there will be the opening ceremony at 10.00 hrs and during that morning there will be a seminar in English entitled  "Emergency Response in Portugal", by the Municipal Civil Protection Service of Portimão and Safe Communities Portugal.

This will include presentations by officials and agents of the Sistema Integrado de Operações de Proteção e Socorro e do Sistema Integrado de Emergência (Integrated Protection and Relief Operations and the Integrated Emergency System).

This seminar, given in English, aims to provide an overview for foreign citizens interested in understanding the functioning of response systems in the field of civil protection and assistance in Portugal, as well as to clarify any doubts about the rules and procedures to be followed in emergency situations. Booking is necessary by simply emailing events@ahbvp.pt Entry is free.Timing during the morning has yet to be confirmed.

We will also have a stand at the exhibition and we look forward to seeing you there.

The full program in English can be downloaded here.

Algarve International Fair - Lagoa - 2nd and 3rd June.

Once again we are pleased to be participating in this fair organised by the Portugal News. This year we are at stand 49 next to our friends from the British Consulate.

This is a good opportunity to visit us and we will have plenty of material available covering public safety and security. We are off course pleased to answer any questions you may have and provide help and assistance where we can.

Once again we will be running a competition with a nice prize for the winner.

Details concerning the fair can be found hereund here found here.
Notable Arrests

ASAE makes the biggest ever seizure of cash 

210 thousand euros were seized in cash and 7870 pairs of shoes

The Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) announced on Saturday 4th May 2018 the seizure of about 210 thousand euros in cash, the largest ever, and 7870 pairs of sports shoes in the municipality of Vila do Conde.

As a result of this operation aimed at combating the counterfeit trading economy - called the Sapatilha d'Ouro operation - three criminal proceedings were instituted and one individual was arrested as well as the company he represented, ASAE said in a statement. During the operation , carried out by the Northern Regional Unit, three establishments were inspected.

The seized footwear was reported to be two major internationally renowned brands and was being marketed directly to the public as well as to other distributors and stockists.

The total value of this seizure amounts to about half a million euros, according to ASAE.
Public Ministry accuses nine men who stole 91 cars worth 1.5 million euros

In just over two years, nine men, all linked to workshops or scrap yards, stole 91 cars, mostly in the Greater Porto area. They used state-of-the-art technology to bypass the car alarms, many of them top-of-the-range models. The vehicles were dismantled for parts to be sold. In total, the value of stolen vehicles amounts to around 1.5 million euros.

The Public Ministry (MP) has now accused the men of crimes of criminal association, qualified theft and falsification of documents.

It is considered by the authorities that this was the most active group in vehicle theft in the North of the country, and were specialists in stealing BMW and Renault Mégane models, up to three or four vehicles a day. Eventually they were all detained by the PSP of Porto in March 2017. They were suspected of about 300 car thefts, but were eventually charged with 91 cases.

According to the MP of Maia, the individuals, aged 25 to 49, were led by a 42-year-old mechanic from Matosinhos, currently in pre-trial detention. The man who started dismantling vehicles with the help of two accomplices, set up, starting in the summer of 2016, a new organization with six individuals.

The "Boss", OC, was the one who defined the targets, which were always stolen at night by the operatives. He also ordered license plates to be placed on the stolen cars, and he would get blank keys that were changed with a new coding of the keypad codes.

The leader decided where the vehicles would be parked until they were dismantled and he also dealt with the subsequent sales. He was also the one who contacted at least five workshops. 

SEF intercepts citizens on suspicion of tobacco smuggling

T he Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) intercepted at the Porto Airport two foreign nationals on suspicion of smuggling tobacco. 

The persons, 31 and 40 years old, from a risk analysis, were identified by SEF during the documentary check made to the passengers coming from the Istanbul flight. 

In close collaboration with the Tax and Customs Authority (ATA), 55,200 cigarettes of various American brands were detected in the hold baggage of these individuals, with an estimated market value of around € 13,000. 

GNR seizes 2,100 liters of brandy in the district of Porto

More than two thousand liters of brandy were seized in an establishment in the district of Oporto due to the lack of payment of 14 thousand euros related to the Taxes on Alcohol and Alcoholic Beverages.

In a statement, the GNR informs that the seizure of 2,100 liters of brandy was made on Thursday by the Oporto Tax Action Unit and occurred during a surveillance operation to commercial establishments.

"The military detected a situation in which the owner of the establishment stored the seized goods in an unauthorized place and without customs control, thus stealing from their respective tax obligations," explains the GNR, adding that the tax to be settled amounts to 14 thousand euros.

Local News

National Watchtower network now in operation

This year the primary surveillance network starts a week early and ends five weeks later - it will be active 24 hours a day from 7 May and will last until 6 November, reports the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI).

The 72 fire posts to prevent and detect fires will start operating on Monday with 288 forest watchers, who will be active for a longer period this year, according to the Ministry of Internal Administration.

In a note sent to the Lusa agency, the Minister Eduardo Cabrita said that these 72 posts are part of the National Network of Watchtowers (primary network) and will be in operation 24 hours a day. This year, lookouts start operating a week earlier and end five weeks later than in previous years, when they began on May 14 ending on September 30, according to the MAI.

The 288 vigilantes who will man the National Network of Watch Stations are hired by the MAI in the scope of the prevention and combat to the rural fires. The MAI also stresses that this network will be reinforced between 30 June and 15 October, when the secondary network which comes into operation, with a total of 230 lookout posts and 920 forest watchers.

Vila Verde Firefighter shot whilst fighting fire caused by burning

A member the Vila Verde Volunteer Bombeiros, Braga, was shot with a shotgun when fighting a large fire caused by an uncontrolled burning.

The incident occurred early on Friday 4th May, when firefighters fought a ruralt fire with three active fronts, which was heading towards the town of Bemposta, in the parish of Aboim da Nóbrega, Vila Verde county, following a controlled burning which became out of control.

João Gonçalves, a 27-year-old single, residing in Portela das Cabras, Vila Verde, was hit in the right leg by shrapnel from a shotgun as he prepared to fight the fire.  He was transported to the Hospital of Braga.

"There are no words to try to justify how someone in a cowardly way decides to shoot someone ... who is there to help," said Luis Morais, commander of the Vila Verde Volunteer Firefighters, at the hospital. "Nobody understands this," he said.

"Only in April - when it rained with some intensity - I have 25 occurrences in my county caused by uncontrolled fires," added the commander of the Volunteer Firefighters of Vila Verde. "The legislation is clear: making a burn requires a license, proper safety standards, sufficient resources for self-protection and must be done in the morning," said Luís Morais.

So far there are still no detainees due to this shotgun incident, but the Homicide Brigade of the Judicial Police of Braga is already interviewing several people from the area, and soldiers from the GNR of Vila Verde and the Detachment of Intervention of the Command of the GNR of Braga have been mobilised.  

Two men sentenced to 24 and 20 years imprisonment for homicide and other crimes

On 7th May 2018, the Santarém court sentenced the two men accused of the murder of a taxi driver on May 1, 2017, to 24 years and 20 years in prison, considering their conduct "perversely disproportionate."

The two defendants, Américo Lopes, was sentenced to 24 years in prison, and Luis Peixoto, sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. During the incident the victim Antonio Pedro, a taxi driver was kidnapped, robbed, killed and his corpse desecrated, following a series of crimes begun a few days earlier.

Américo Lopes, with a long history of previous crimes whom the judge stressed had "served no purpose", was convicted of nine crimes - four for qualified robbery, one for extortion, attempted murder, two for kidnapping, one for qualified homicide (the most serious, with a 20-year prison term) and one for desecration of a corpse - culminating in a single sentence of 24 years in prison.

Luís Peixoto, who had no criminal record, was convicted of eight crimes - two for classified robbery, two for kidnapping, one for a qualified homicide (17 years), one for desecration of a corpse and two for driving without legal authorization - receiving a 20-year prison sentence.
The court acquitted this defendant of the practice of a crime of sexual abuse of person incapable of resistance.

The two were also sentenced to pay civil damages to the widow and son of Antonio Pedro for a total of €121.700.
Crime Prevention

Moving into a new home - some security reminders

When moving into a new home, check the following Safety measures:

  • Check that there is adequate lighting in the building and in the surrounding areas;
  • If there is a garage, that it is adequately protected preferably with door-opening systems with remote control;
  • Is your new residence is equipped with fire detection systems?
  • Remember to change the locks if it has been previously occupied, and keep all copies of your residence keys in a safe place;
  • If you've inherited a security alarm make sure you get the code number and the operation manual from the sellers so you can operate it and then change the PIN
  • Have safety chains installed on the outside doors;
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms if using gas or wood burning heater. If already installed check the battery.
  • Include in your telephone directory useful contacts such as Firefighters, Emergency Medical Services and Security Forces in your area so that you can contact them quickly in any emergency.
  • Ensure you have household insurance in place from day one 
  • Try and disguise the fact you have just moved in by hanging curtains or blinds straightaway, don't leave packing boxes in open view and introduce yourself to the neighbours as soon as you can.
Remember some burglaries take place shortly after the moving into a new home

How to avoid Pickpockets by Comissário Nuno Alves

We are pleased to publish in English an article written by Comissário Nuno Alves concerning pickpockets and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Comissário Bruno Alves has a Degree in Police Sciences and Internal Security and in Law and a Graduate Course in Criminal Investigation Law. He currently works in the PSP Lisbon Metropolitan Command headquarters.

The article 

The Annual Internal Security Report (RASI) for the year 2017 points to "theft" as the most frequent crime, one of its main forms being, theft by pickpockets.

It can be said that theft by pickpockets is based on a lapse of security taken advantage of by the criminal agent - namely the pickpocket - involving the theft of certain goods that are in the possession of the victim, such as inside a pocket or a briefcase. The pickpocket is patient, astute, and a strategist, as he plans and studies all phases of his performance and masters effective methods of theft without the victim noticing or considering the anomalous situation. He analyses the circumstances around him and waits for the best opportunity to carry out the theft.

Theft by pickpockets usually takes place in large crowded places, where the attention of the victim is drawn to the natural environment (tourism, sightseeing and on vacations), involving the use of diversion tactics (such as standing close-by, a push or request for information); the pickpocket using an item that facilitates and hides the act of theft (newspaper, briefcase, coat and map) and / or the help of other pickpockets who distract the victim, looking out for police activity and assisting in hiding stolen objects.

Read full article here

Time shares and Holiday Clubs

Time shares and holiday clubs can provide cheaper holidays but although the vast majority are reliable and provide excellent services, it can still be easy to fall into a financial trap.  

Timeshare is the annual right to use accommodation during one or more weeks in a holiday property or several properties. 

A holiday club is where you pay a membership fee which allows you to book and pay for holidays through the club at a discount.

1. Beware of aggressive sales
Timeshares and holiday clubs are often sold using aggressive techniques (many of which are illegal in the EU). For example, holidaymakers may be offered a scratch card which invariably wins a prize. To get the prize, they are lured into a commercial presentation and pressured into signing a contract on the spot. Be wary of people approaching you on the street whilst on holiday.

2. Be cautious of timeshare resale offers
Some timeshare resale companies offer to resell your timeshare for an upfront fee. Once the fee is paid, sales rarely take place and, where they do, it is often at a selling price that barely covers the fees.

Timeshare sellers may also try to persuade you to buy another property, saying that they will sell your current property. Often, these sales never happen and you may be left with two timeshares!

3. Contract cancellation: holiday clubs
If you have already signed up to a holiday club and want to cancel, check the terms of your contract carefully and request cancellation immediately.
Civil Protection and Public Safety

Safe burning of heaped and cut debris

Unfortunately there have been many fires this year which have resulted from the burning of debris which has become out of control. Causing such fires through negligence is a criminal offence. In one such case recently over 10,000m2 of forest was destroyed.

The ICNF has very clear safety measures that should be adopted in burning debris.
The precautions to be taken include when and under what conditions fires can be lit and how they should be managed. Specifically it covers issues such as: humidity, air temperature, wind, fuels, avoiding slopes; the gradual feeding of fires; monitoring fires; water supply; utensils to be available and the proper management of the aftermath during the period of extinguishing and beyond. Many fires are caused by people burning debris or land without taking the proper precautions.
These very helpful tips will allow fires to be lit and controlled, during periods where it is permitted to do so, without the risk of the fire becoming uncontrolled and threatening your life and property and that of others.
The most basic advice is to choose cloudy days; take your mobile phone with you so you can raise the alarm in the case of fire and have someone else with you when you undertake the burn. Do not undertake controlled burns when the weather is hot and dry or when it is windy. Always contact the local Bombeiros before doing so.
Such burning cannot be undertaken during the Critical Fire Period (normally 1st July to 30th September) or when the local fire risk is "Very High" or "Extreme".
Please see full government guide here

Cybercrime and Computer Security 

Portugal - National Cyber Security Exercise

The National Cybersecurity Center (CNCS) will hold the first part of the National Exercise of Cybersecurity (ExNCS) on May 9 and 10, 2018.

Testing and evaluating methods and procedures in the area of cyber security, in the public and private sectors, is the main objective of the National Cybersecurity Exercise. In this context, one of the purposes of this exercise is precisely to evaluate the degree of preparation and the maturity of the various entities to deal with large incidents that could affect Portugal. This involvement will result in the creation of the necessary synergies with other exercises in this field, organized and conducted at national level.

In practice, the exercise simulates a scenario of cyber attacks, carried out by hacktivists, whose objective is to demonstrate their public opposition to a political initiative of a humanitarian nature. The different types of cyberattacks carried out aim to cause disruption in the provision of services in several essential sectors in the different public and private entities involved, in order to evaluate the degree of preparation and maturity of the various entities.

This involvement will result in the creation of the necessary synergies with other exercises in this field, organized and conducted at national level.

In this context, legal support will also be provided, using the terminology of the Directive SRI (Directive on Security of Networks and Information Systems), a bill recently approved by the Government'

Overseas News

Eight arrested for distribution of child sexual abuse material through Skype and the darknet 

Europol has supported the Spanish National Police on Operation Sky, a complex investigation targeting the distribution of child sexual exploitation material through darknet platforms and Skype.

The investigation led by the Spanish National Police's High-Tech Crime Unit began in mid-2017 and focused at first on the TOR network. Prompted by clear evidence of the prolific sharing of indecent images, the Spanish investigators uncovered links diverting users to a private group accessible by invitation only on Skype. 

At this point in the operation, there have been eight arrests in Europe (France, Hungary, Italy, Spain) and Canada. Investigations are ongoing with law enforcement agencies to bring all the suspects to justice.

The group members from 14 different countries were actively exchanging child sexual abuse and exploitation material. Operation SKY aimed at clearly identifying, charging and prosecuting them for encouraging child sexual exploitation and abuse through their activities.  The investigators monitored the activity online using innovative operational resources in this complex case.  They also dealt with the demands of different legal frameworks in a worldwide investigation. The house searches and arrests followed shortly after.

Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (JCAT), a group of dedicated cyber-liaison officers from different countries who work together in a trusted environment within Europol, have supported Operation SKY from the outset in the coordination of roles, tasks, meetings and through intelligence analysis and the facilitation of the secure information exchange.

How you can help - Donation for crime prevention in Portugal

Each week Safe Communities Portugal provides advice and assistance to those who have contacted the association. No charge is made for this service. If you have benefited from this then why not make a small donation in return. 


Safe Communities Portugal is a non-profit association run by unpaid volunteers. Our services are free of charge and the association is funded by donations. Your generosity by making a donation to help maintain and further develop the work of the association and thereby help keep portugal a safe place to live and visit would be appreciated. Any amount helps.  

Three ways to make a donation


Paypal - If you would like to make a donation through Paypal please visit our Welcome page and click on the "donate" button. 

By cheque - If you wish to donate by cheque the bank account name is "Associacao SCP Safe Communities Portugal" and cheques can be posted to Caixa 207-Z, Alfontes, Boliqueime, 8100-062, Algarve.

By interbank transfer - If you wish to donate through inter bank transfer please use the same name with the following account details NIB 0033 0000 4542 9864 44705. 

All donations should be marked "Donation for crime prevention". Thank you.

Safe Communities Portugal - Regular Features
Just a reminder that in addition to our website and Facebook page, Safe Communities Portugal produces regular crime prevention features to help the community. These are  in the Algarve Resident and the next one is out on 7th June 2018.

We also have a 5 minute feature named "Crimecheck" on Sir Owen Gee's Solid Gold Sunday which is usually aired at 0915 hrs on the last Sunday of each month. Over the last few months with the kind agreement of Owen we have run additional features covering topical issues, such as missing persons, rural fire prevention and Eurovision song contest security. The next one is on  27th May.  

How your friends can obtain up to date Crime Prevention advice
Please pass on details of Safe Communities Algarve to neighbours and friends so they to can benefit from the up to date crime prevention advice. Simply ask them to click on the following link to obtain the latest newsletter: www.safecommunitiesportugal.com This is a free service.



David Thomas

Safe Communities Portugal



10th May 2018