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

2 April 2014

Well this is really a big welcome this month as we not only announce the launch of our new website, but also the introduction of a new format newsletter. Although the current newsletter has served us well, it was felt that there were some changes that could be introduced that will further increase its appeal to readers and also to support the new website. Your feedback to the new newsletter is very welcome.
Please also note that SCA's email address remains unchanged at info@safecommunitiesalgarve.com but we have created a new one for the newsletter which is news@safecommunitiesalgarve.com.

Apart from this we have our usual reports on good arrests; the preliminary 2013 crime figures; forthcoming events; the signing of a protocol with SEF; a housing purchase scam to look out for; farewell to GNR Safe Residence Programme team member; a PayPal malware attack; You've got cancer email warning; House purchase Scam; Dangerous New Synthetic Drugs hit the European market; Political corruption in Europe; Criminal Groups Extort European Relatives of Kidnap Victims; Meeting with Deputy Commander ANPC Faro; Lisbon - Burglaries through Water attacks and donations to Safe Communities Algarve.

The New Website

As a major step forward in providing crime prevention and public safety services to residents, we have launched a new website replacing the existing one which was formed two years ago.

Around a year ago it became evident that due to an increasing demand for SCA services and the expansion of its work a new site would be necessary. I am pleased therefore that Claire Kellock, an experienced website designer volunteered her services in her spare time to develop a new professional site that would not only meet existing demand but expected growth in the future.

It is essential that a website service such as this exists in any community in order that residents can obtain professional and independent advice that helps them as well as supporting government efforts in maintaining safety in the community. It also helps facilitate public engagement with the police as they are more aware of work of such organizations.

It is evident that SCA's services have indeed proved popular as during the last year there were some 700,000 hits and the number of daily visitors to the existing website has nearly doubled and now amounts to around 40% of those visiting the Government's national Security Portal.

The new website has around 70 downloads of crime prevention material easily accessed in nine crime areas ranging from cybercrime to stolen pets. Crime arrests by law enforcement officers and other news are posted daily on the front page. In addition to the GNR pages there are now pages for the PSP police, more information on civil protection, and in the near future SEF will be added.

Popular features such as reporting suspicious activities to the police, the GNR Safe Residence Programme and the Safe Services guide are now much easier to access. The new website is far more visual and benefits from more photographs including those taken by Birch Photography.

The new website took a year to develop and involved consultation with various public services including the police to ensure their needs were met. Claire Kellock said: "The original website had served a purpose but it was clear that it needed updating.  I was more than happy to provide my services to a community project such as this and I hope its users will find the site easy to navigate and user friendly."

I wish to thank those who had took part in the testing of the new website over the last month and for your constructive comments and I hope hoped that you will make regular use of www.safecommunitiesalgarve.com which is available to everyone.

The Algarve is a safe place to live and visit and by following the advice given on the website it could become even safer.

Crime in the Algarve lowest since 2001

Preliminary crime statistics published by Dire��o-Geral da Pol�tica de Justica on 28th March show that there were 23,060 recorded crimes in the Algarve in 2013, a decrease of 9.3% compared with the 2012. This is the lowest record since 2001 and is the 5th successive year that crime has decreased in the region.


The national report indicates that in Portugal as a whole there were 376,336 crimes recorded by all law enforcement agencies a decrease of 6.9% compared with 2012. Violent crime decreased by a significant 9.5% to 20,147 cases. Decreases in crime were reported in all regions in Portugal except in Vilana do Castelo in the extreme north where there was a small increase of 2.5%.


In the Algarve crime decreased in 11 of the 16 municipalities the exceptions being Vila do Bispo, Monchique, Lagos, Alcoutim and Olh�o where there were slight increases. The biggest decrease in crime was in Vila Real de Santo Antonio down 25% This was followed by Silves down by 22% to 1832 cases; Albufeira down 12.8 at 3420 cases and Loul� where crime decreased by 11.8% to 3791 cases. 


Read more



Forthcoming Events

Safe Communities Algarve is planning a number of events with the GNR and the PSP over the Easter period. The aim of these is to promote crime prevention and public safety. The events will be in the form of displays and will take place at Algarve Shopping, Praia da Rocha, plus or two other locations to be confirmed, in the week leading up to Easter Sunday.

On 19th April SCA and GNR Albufeira with other units will be holding a "Safe Families Day" from 1400 to 2000 hrs in Algarve Shopping , near to the entrance to Continente Supermarket. All visitors are welcome to the display and there will be special attractions for children. More details of this and the other events will be published shortly.

SEF and SCA sign Protocol

Servi�o de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) have signed on 27th February 2014 in Faro, a Memorandum of Cooperation with Associa��o Safe Communities Algarve (SCA).

This aims to establish a framework of cooperation between the SEF and the SCA, in order to disseminate among the foreign community, information about the mission and tasks of the development of SEF, both in the area of internal security, compliance with documentation including matters such as legalization of stay in the national territory.

The protocol was signed by the Regional Director of SEF Algarve, Inspectora Superior F�tima Teixeira, and the President of the Associa��o Safe Communities Algarve, David Thomas at the premises of the SEF Regional Directorate of the Algarve SEF.

I am delighted with this agreement as it will help in the development of a number of new initiatives and help promote the work of SEF as well as furthering awareness of various immigration matters among the foreign population here in the Algarve.

Loul� Residents - Farewell to GNR Safe Residents Programme Team member

On 7th March around 80 residents from the Loul� area gathered at the O Meseu restaurant Vale Cova near Boliqueime at a party organized by Captain Adriano Commander GNR Loul�, to bid farewell to Guarda Frederico Fragoso who has served on the Safe Residence Programme (SRP) team since its inception in January 2010 to December 2012.

Guarda Fragoso better known to residents as "Freddy" made a considerable impact on residents during a period of three years displaying considerable professionalism and competence in helping to keep the area safe. He had a very engaging manner and with excellent communication skills related very well to residents.

During the party Freddy thanked residents for all the support that they had given and that it had been a privilege to work together. Two small gifts were presented by the community one being a certificate which stated:

"The residents of the Safe Residence Programme in the Council of Loul� wish to thank you for your outstanding work, loyalty and dedicated service from January 2010 to December 2012, whilst you were a member of the Safe Residence Programme team. Your care, wisdom and always being there in times of need will forever be remembered. We wish you every success in your new job and your career."

The other gift was a model SRP house in which many residents and SRP village representatives had included messages of appreciation.

Freddy transferred to Faro Division at the end of February to undertake investigative duties.

Excellent Arrest
Judicial Police arrest seven for qualified tax fraud, corruption and money laundering

It was reported on 27th March that the Judicial Police, through the Department of Criminal Investigation of Set�bal, with the collaboration of the Tax Authority and the  GNR Special Operations Group, conducted a joint operation in the districts of Lisbon and Set�bal, which resulted in the arrest of four men and three women, suspected of practicing qualified tax fraud, corruption, money laundering and receiving crimes.


The investigation, which has been ongoing for over a year, was aimed at neutralizing the activities of this group whose activities was causing serious damage to the national economy.

During the operation over 70 kgs of gold, 150 kgs of silver, approximately € 1 million in cash, several dozens of diamonds, five cars, a boat and two motorcycles, as well as innumerable documents were seized.


Part of precious materials seized were the result of the commission of crimes against property, as well as unreported transactions performed by individuals. Detainees will appear in court at the first application for judicial interrogation.



According to Gold Price.org the value of the gold seized is approximately € 2.1 million and the silver is worth approx € 70,000

House Purchase Scam 

Over the last week or so I have heard about a number of house purchase scams. Some of these have been sent to people who are in the proceeds of actually selling their property. The following one was referred by a reader to SCA, and an extract is shown so you can see the type of modus operandi used. Regardless of how keen to sell your property it is important not to reply to this sort of email, and certainly do not take them up on the offer.


"Hello Dear,


How are you and your family today, I pray you are all safe and good. I wanna thank you so much for your response on your property and I wish to let you know that I am sincerely interested in your property and I am surely taking this property on your prize and I am hoping as well that we can work together on a better and higher platform considering my relocation to your Country, I sincerely want to trust you. I am a war veteran with the NATO troop in Afghanistan, on war against terrorism. I have in my possession the sum of €18.2 million. which I got from crude oil deal in Iraq.


I have this money stored somewhere very safe in our camp in Fallujah Iraq waiting for a moment like this to put the money in good use and now that I have been moved to Afghanistan I want the box moved without delay. I have a very profitable investment plans on hand concerning the buying of your property.


Please if you are interested in this transaction I will give to you the complete details you need for us to carry out this transaction successfully.  


I wait for your contact details so we can go on. In less than 5 days the fund should have been delivered to you and I will come over for my money. I will give to you 20% of the sum and 80% is for me. I hope I am been fair on this deal.





You've got Cancer hoax email warning

It was reported by the BBC on 13th March 2014, that a health watchdog in the UK is warning that thousands of people have been sent hoax emails suggesting they have cancer.The messages appear to come from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).It says the contents are likely to be distressing and has reported the hoax to the police.

It is not clear exactly how many people are affected, but based on the high number of calls to the organisation it is thought to number thousands.

Sir Andrew Dillon, the chief executive of NICE, said: "A spam email purporting to come from NICE is being sent to members of the public regarding cancer test results.This email is likely to cause distress to recipients since it advises that 'test results' indicate they may have cancer.This malicious email is not from NICE and we are currently investigating its origin. We take this matter very seriously and have reported it to the police."

NICE is advising people who have received the email - the subject line of which is important blood analysis result - to delete it without opening it and not to click on any links.


A very nasty type of hoax email aimed solely at causing alarm and distress. No reports I have been passed to Safe Communities Algarve that anyone in the British community hear in the Algarve has received this hoax email. 

Paypal Malware Attack 

Also doing its rounds is an email from service@paypel.com which is entitled "Your account has been limited Paypal Case no....."


The first thing to note here is that the email address with the incorrect spelling of "PayPal". Secondly it is addressed to "Dear Customer" rather than individual email addresses. The email is aimed at persuading you to open an attachment but by doing this it introduces "Malware" to your computer - probably a Trojan Horse. So on no account open the attachment or pass the email onto others. Simply delete it and also delete from your "Deleted files" box. The email reads


Dear customer ,

As part of our efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for the online community, we regularly screen account activity. Our review of your account has identified an issue regarding its safe use. We have placed a restriction on your account as a precaution.


To lift the restriction we will require some further information from you.


If, once we review your further information and we're confident that the use of your account does not present a safety risk to our service and customers, we'll be happy to reinstate your account.

We have sent you an attachment which contains all the necessary steps in order to restore your account access. Download and open it in your browser. After we have gathered the necessary information, you will regain full access to your account. Please make sure you enter the information accurately, and according to the formats required. Fill in all the required fields.


We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter"

Meeting with Deputy Commander ANPC Faro

On 7th March Lilia Martins (an Advisor to SCA) and I had a very useful meeting with the Deputy Commander of the ANPC (Civil Protection Agency) in Faro which covers the Algarve.


During the meeting we discussed ways in which SCA could support the work of the ANPC, particularly in forest fire prevention and also the holding of a number of joint events during the year.

Lisbon - Burglaries through Water attacks

It has been reported in Lisbon that criminals have adopted a new method of gain access to properties by poring water under the door of the property. The unsuspecting occupant then opens the door only to be confronted by the criminal who enters their home, committing theft.


According to reports about 50 cases have been reported to the PSP police in the Lisbon area; PSP Antas registered 22 cases and 73 cases have been reported to the GNR in Senhora da Hora, S. Mamede Infesta and Rio Tinto / Gondomar.


Safe Communities Algarve has enquired with police here in the Algarve but no reports have been received in the region. This is something to look out for though.


BRUSSELS - Three quarters of Europeans think corruption is a "major or widespread" problem in their political institutions, according to research published.

Twenty percent of Greeks and Italians report being asked to pay a bribe to public servants.

The countries worst hit by the European economic crisis have recorded larger decreases in trust in political institutions in recent years, with public perceptions of corruption above 90 percent, according to a report commissioned by the UK's Committee on Standards in Public Life.

The highest levels of concern were in Greece - where 99 percent said corruption was a major problem - followed by Portugal, Italy, Spain and Ireland.

The research, which was based on data from the European Values Survey (EVS), the European Social Survey (ESS) and Eurobarometer, was commissioned following a sharp downturn in public trust in UK institutions caused in part by a parliamentary expenses scandal in 2009.

In a statement accompanying the report, Lord Paul Bew, the chairman of the Committee, said the survey was an attempt to measure whether declining public trust in the UK was "a unique national trend or part of a broader change in public attitudes across Western democracies".

In Greece and Italy, where corruption was most frequently reported, almost 20 percent of respondents reported being asked or expected to pay a bribe during the previous 12 months.

UK nationals were the least likely to report having been asked or expected to pay a bribe, with just one percent telling the regular Eurobarometer survey that this had happened in 2013.

Meanwhile, despite an increase in the number of Danish respondents who believed corruption was widespread in their national and local institutions between 2011 and 2013, Denmark was the only case where the majority of respondents did not believe there to be corruption in either national or local public institutions.

National parliaments tended to be the lowest rated institution in European nations among citizens, lagging well behind the police and judicial system in almost all countries surveyed.

Citizens across Europe also believe that there is insufficient transparency in and supervision of the financing of political parties.  


Good Arrests 

The make the newsletter a little shorter we are now including just the title of the arrests and with a link to the website where the full report can be read


Loule - Person arrested for Possession of illegal weapons and drug trafficking 12th March

GNR Tavira arrest four in major drug trafficking operation

Portimao - Person arrested for drug trafficking


Safe Communities Algarve 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 the Algarve a safe place to live and visit would be appreciated. Any amount helps. 


If you would like to make a donation through Paypal please visit our Welcome page and click on the "donate" button. If you wish to donate by cheque or by interbank transfer please contact SCA for our bank details using the contact page. All donations should be marked "Donation for crime prevention". Thank you.

Dangerous New Synthetic Drugs hit the European market

Europol and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) have issued early-warning notifications about two synthetic drugs that have recently been linked to serious health in the EU.


The first concerns a new psychoactive substance associated with 18 deaths in the United Kingdom and eight in Hungary in 2013. 4,4'-DMAR - the para-methyl derivative of 4-methylaminorex - is not currently controlled by drug legislation in EU Member States and has been found in Denmark, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom since it was first detected in 2012.


The use of other drugs in combination with 4,4'-DMAR appears to have been a factor in most of the fatalities recorded. A range of adverse effects associated with 4,4'-DMAR have been reported, including agitation, hyperthermia, foaming at the mouth, breathing problems and cardiac arrest. 


Drug Markets Report (3), Belgium and the Netherlands remain centres for synthetic drugs production in the EU and are also among those Member States most affected by the recent resurgence in MDMA availability. Read more

Criminal Groups Extort European Relatives of Kidnap Victims

Europol has warned EU law enforcement authorities about the kidnapping of irregular migrants and the subsequent extortion of their relatives or friends who are residing in Europe.


In the cases known to law enforcement, ransoms extorted from the European contacts have ranged from EUR 4400 to EUR 25 700. In most cases, the extortion processes involved multiple negotiation steps and sequential increases in the ransom amount. Payments were made to multiple cash handlers used by organised criminal groups in locations inside and outside of Europe.


Based on data provided by national law enforcement authorities it is clear that individuals of Eritrean origin living in Sweden and at least two other European countries have been subject to extortion as relatives for Eritrean kidnapping victims held hostage and exposed to torture in the Sinai Peninsula. The extortion operations were run by organised crime groups (OCGs) of Bedouin origin exploiting irregular migrants who had been kidnapped in Eritrea and Sudan by OCGs of Rashaida origin.


In some cases, hostages have been provided with phones to call their European contacts and request payment for their release. In other cases, the relatives have been extorted by cash handlers that are based in Europe and working for Bedouin criminal groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula. For instance, a victim's friend located in Sweden was contacted by two Swedish-speaking suspects on local mobile phone numbers demanding EUR 24 000 for a victim being held in the Sinai. Threatening that non-compliance would result in the victim's death and sale of the victim's organs, the suspects attempted to arrange face-to-face meetings in Sweden for the handover of ransom payments. Subsequently, the relative was sent regular threat messages via SMS and presented with a shortened deadline. In this case, the victim was killed and the transaction was not completed.


While the dark figure for the extortion of the European contacts of hostages in the Sinai may be considerably higher, the number of cases recorded by law enforcement authorities is low. Increased public awareness may encourage affected individuals to come forward and report these incidents of extortion.


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.safecommunitiesalgarve.com This is a free service.



David Thomas

Associa��o Safe Communities Algarve



2 April 2014


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