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

23 April 2014

I hope you all enjoyed the new style of our newsletter sent out on 2nd April 2014. We have received some very positive feedback and it was encouraging to note that the number of people who opened the newsletter (known as the "open rate" ) was more than double the industry average for a non-profit association. We are also aware however that a few people did not receive it and we will try and resolve this. We aim to send out a newsletter around every two weeks so it you do not receive this please go to our Newsletter page on our website where back copies of the newsletter can be found.
Although crime is at a 12 year low we are still very busy and in the lead up to Easter we held three very successful crime prevention displays. Please see the report in this newsletter below.
Apart from this we have our usual reports on good arrests with others including; SCA Easter events a success; reminder of gambling laws in Portugal; PSP Operation Safe Easter - Results; GNR Operation Easter 2014; GNR Operation Safe Forest; inauguration of new GNR General Commander; Judicial Police arrest two in international fraud case; nearly 1000 children caught in school with weapons in UK; credit card fraud; Portugal's prison population; transfer of investigations for military personnel crime from PJ to GNR; PayPal malware attack; safe use of ATM machines; Portuguese and Spanish police joint operations; indoor residential robberies in Costa del Sol Spain and donations to Safe Communities Algarve.

The New Website

A big thank you for all of you who are making use of our newly designed website www.safecommunitiesalgarve.com Just a reminder that news is posted daily so please check regularly to find out more about police arrests, police operations, crime prevention advice and forthcoming events. 

Since the launch we have now included a welcome page in Portuguese and will shortly be adding a page for SEF.

We welcome your feedback concerning the new site and suggestions on further improvements.

SCA Easter Crime Prevention events a success


The crime prevention displays held be Safe Communities Algarve, the GNR and PSP police during the Easter period proved popular with over 400 people visiting the stands at Praia da Luz, Praia da Rocha and Algarve Shopping Guia - a superb turnout.


The displays also gave visitors an opportunity to learn more about the work of the PSP police and the GNR Safe Residence Programme. The GIPS display at Algarve Shopping proved popular with youngsters in particular, with the opportunity to dress up in GIPS uniform and sit in their "emergency" vehicle.


Thank you to Jim Litchko an advisor to SCA who helped man the stand at Algarve Shopping - thus allowing Jane and I to put our feet up! Also to Lilia Martins another advisor who visited us. There will be a more detailed write up including the results of a survey we conducted in our next newsletter.


We will be holding further events in May and June and details will also be published shortly.


Reminder - Gambling Laws in Portugal

With the approach of the main tourist season and bars reopening after the winter period, it is an appropriate time to remind everyone concerning the gambling laws here in Portugal.

A comprehensive document in English has been produced on this subject and is available through the Turismo de Portugal website. The document covers the laws including being present when gambling is taking place, as well as practical situations concerning the holding of raffles, sweepstakes, poker, bingo etc, where to obtain further advice and how to make an application where permission is required.

It is incumbent on those who wish to organize activities such as raffles to comply with the law or face the consequences for not doing so. There is now no excuse for not being aware, as information is readily available in English. If you are unclear or the advice does not appear to fit your situation then simply contact either Turismo de Portugal or SGMAI (for applications) at the contact details given in the document.

PSP Operation - Safe Easter - Final results

From 14th to 20th April 2014 the PSP conducted "Security Operation Easter in 2014". The following three objectives were fully achieved:


� Decrease in road accidents ;

� Increased visibility in public areas ;

� Increased pro active police activity through creating awareness and crime prevention ;


During the period there were zero road fatalities (two less than in 2013 ), 11 serious injuries (4 less than in 2013), 228 minor injuries (27 less than  2013) and a total of 810 accidents (120 less than last year).


Easter is a period with some demographic changes with more people including tourists in the main cities of Portugal. The PSP has established visible policing to promote the feeling of security by the community.


Compared to 2013, we continue to record a decrease in crime rates in our areas of responsibility (the major cities) down 6 % in the first quarter of the year. Activities aimed at preventing burglaries, thefts on public roads, in car thefts, pickpockets and thefts of non-precious metals were conducted during this period.


Read more

GNR Operation Easter 2014 - Results


During Easter the GNR conducted Operation Easter 2014 - by increasing patrols and roadside checks between 00:00 hours on the 17th and 24:00 on the 20th April, with a particular focus on the most critical areas, with the aim of combating road accidents, regulating traffic and ensuring support to all road users providing them with a safe movement. 


During the four days, and compared to the "Operation Easter 2013" (28-31 March), there were 591 accidents (212 less than 2013); three killed (less five); 23 serious injuries (plus 14) and 191 minor injuries (minus 99). 


Operation "Safe Forest"

The GNR is conducting until the 14th of May, a number of awareness campaigns at national level, especially directed at schools on measures to prevent fires by cleaning, removal of undergrowth and maintenance procedures,  fuel management, with the aim of reducing the risk of forest fire.


In 2013, the GNR experienced about 23,801 fire incidents, 43 persons were arrested and 750 suspected arsonists identified. This year, by the end of March, there were 928 occurrences of fire, four arrests had been made and 53 suspects had been held held.


The problem of forest fires in Portugal has become increasingly important, especially due to the negative impacts of fires on natural resources. In this sense, with the completion of these actions to raise awareness, the GNR intends to encourage good practices and respect for nature, ensuring, ultimately, sustainability and the future of our forests.

Excellent Arrest
Operation by Judicial Police result in arrest of two people for transnational fraud amounting to € 2 million 

It was reported on 16th April 2014 that the Judicial Police, through the National Anti-Corruption Unit (UNCC) conducted an operation in the northern and central parts of the country, which led to the dismantling of a large international fraud network.


The network, which originated in Italy, extended to France, Spain and Portugal. This involved the false promise of financing which reached a total value of € 3.8 billion resulting in the victims (dozens of businessmen) linked to construction, hotels and restaurants, losing around € 2 millions in advanced payments.


Resulting from the complex investigation, a 55 year old Portuguese national was arrested and was remanded in custody. At the end of March, following an European Arrest Warrant issued by the Portuguese authorities, an Italian businessman, 69 years old, resident in Italy, who coordinated all the fraudulent activity from his office in Parma was also arrested.



Two arrested for drug trafficking by boat 


On 13th April 2014 at 1600 hrs the GNR Subdestacamento Coastal Control Unit Vila Real de Santo Ant�nio arrested two foreign individuals aged about 40 years and seized a boat carrying about 1,060 kilos of hashish.


The operation commenced when the Maritime Service Guardia Civil de Huelva started tracking a suspicious vessel and verified that it was sailing towards the Rio Guadiana.


The Coastal Subdestacamento of Vila Real de S. Ant�nio was notified and collaboration requested in order to intercept the vessel. After the vessel was intercepted two foreign nationals who were on board were intercepted and several bales of hashish with a weight of 1060 kgs were found hidden in the inside a false bottom of the boat.


During the joint operation conducted along the length of the river another similar vessel, which also contained hashish in a false bottom was discovered.



Tourists robbed in Albufeira 


On 18th April 2014 at 2300 hrs a female Dutch tourist aged 25 years was robbed by two men at Travesa de Malpique, Albufeira. The victim who was accompanied by her friend was walking along the path which is steep and poorly lit in an isolated area. She was approached by the men one of whom snatched her handbag pushing her to the ground. She was taken to Faro hospital with a broken arm.


A short while later in the early hours of the morning another robbery involving two tourists took place near the Beata Vicente statue, also in Albufeira.


The GNR are investigating both robberies.




If anyone was in the area at the time and saw anyone acting suspiciously then please contact the GNR Albufeira at 289 590790 or by email to the GNR Albufeira through the Safe Communities Algarve "Report Suspicious Activities" link



Inauguration of New General Commander of the GNR 


The new General Commander of the National Guard, Lt. Gen. Matthew Manuel Costa da Silva Couto, took office on 21st April 2014 at 16:00 hrs, at the School of the Guard at Queluz, during a military ceremony. 


Manning of police stations 


In 2008 a person making a complaint inside a police station at Mocavide was attacked by 10 persons who entered the station and accused him of reporting them to police. The PSP subsequently issued a directive on 2nd May 2008 directing that the manning of police stations should be increased overnight to improve security. Hitherto in some small posts only one officer was manning the building whereas others were on patrol.


Recently however the President of Associacao Sindical dos Profissionais Policia, Paulo Rodrigues stated this directive is not always being followed and has called on government to ensure there are sufficient resources provided to enable this to be fully implemented. 


Near 1000 children caught with weapons in UK schools 


Following a Freedom of information request made to police it was reported on 23rd April that 981 children had been caught with weapons in schools in the UK since 2011. Of these 80 were primary school children, the youngest aged 8 with a knife. Included in the weapons were a firearm, a stun gun, knives, a meat cleaver, wooden sticks with nails and knuckledusters.


Of those caught 329 were prosecuted.


It is felt that the true figure could be much higher as only 31 of the 52 police forces provided information.


Investigation and military tribunals to be transferred from Judicial Police to GNR. 


The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMGFA) and Ministry of Defence have endorsed a proposal transferring the responsibility for the investigation of military personnel involved in criminal activity and the forming of tribunals (court marshalls) from the Judicial Police to the GNR. The rationale behind this is that it is more appropriate that the GNR, as a military organization, undertake this role as they are more familiar with military "affairs", whereas Judical Police (who are non-military) are the investigators for serious crime in Portugal. 


According to the Correria da Manha newspaper although the manpower have been transferred to the GNR to undertake this work the budget to pay for this has yet to become available.




The move seems to reflect the system currently in use in many other countries including the UK where the Military Police are responsible for the investigation of serious crime committed by military personnel on military premises.


Prison population in Portugal 


According to the recently published RASI report for 2013 as at the end on 2013 there were a total of 14,284 persons in prison in Portugal including 2590 being held in custody pending trial. This is a similar figure compared with 2012.


Of those in prison 13,431 (94%) are men. The total foreigners in prison stands at 2647 (18.5%) and the main nationalities in custody are those from Cape Verde - 827; Brasil - 326; Romania - 249; Angola - 219 and Guine Bissau - 217. A total of 24 British nationals are in prison compared with 26 from Holland; 35 from France and 144 from Spain.


A breakdown of crimes committed by those sentenced shows: 29.2% for crimes against property; 24.9% for crimes against persons, 19.4% for drug crime (mainly trafficking) and the remainder for other crimes. 


In terms of sentences, approximately 30% of those in prison are serving sentences of between 3 - 6 years: 20% between 6 - 9 years and 13% of between 1 - 3 years.


Since the end of 2010 the prison population has grown sharply by some 23%. The number of foreigners in prison has increased from 2390 to 2590 (8.4%) during the same period.


According to the latest figures available from the International Centre for Prison Statistics, the number of prisoners in Portugal is 120 per 100,000 population. The worlds highest is the US with 737 prisoners per 100,000 population; Russia 615; England and Wales 148 and Spain 144.  

Contacting your bank concerning credit card security issues  
There are occasions where you may need to contact your bank quickly concerning security issues 

such as:   

- You receive an unsolicited email purportedly from your or another bank which could be

  a phishing attack   

- Your credit cards may have been cloned

- Loss or theft of credit cards


- Fraud concerning money having been taken out of your account

Unfortunately we live in a world where a heavy reliance on on-line banking has enabled
fraudsters to disrupt the lives of many through on-line fraud and attacks on computers for the
purpose of causing misery and inconvenience. This type of "arm-chair" crime is increasing

Safe Communities Algarve has put together a list of bank security centres and pages
where you can check for scams that maybe circulating in the bank's names. 


PayPal - Malware attack  
Not for the first time is an email purportedly from PayPal doing its rounds. This one is a little devious as the originating email address looks authentic, but on closer inspection the address is .org whereas PayPal is .com. The subject heading is "Errors were detected in your account - fix now". It reads 

"Dear Valued Customer,

PayPal security team is sending you this notification
message because we seem to be having errors in the
proper verification of your account. This might be
due to one of the following reasons:

*A recent Change in your Account Details
*An Internal error within our servers

CLICK HERE to rectify these Errors.

PayPal Online Security Team".


On no account click on the "CLICK HERE" above as to do so will likely infect your computer with Malware (malicious Software).   

Safe Use of ATM Machines  
Portugal sets high standards concerning advice to the public regarding the safe use of ATM machines. Whereas in some countries it is common place to stand right behind someone drawing cash from an ATM machine, if you do so here the user would "justifiably" be upset and suspicious that you maybe trying to see his/her pin number. These are just one of the guidelines to observe when using a ATM machine. The full list produced by the ATM authority and the GNR can be found here


Police in Portugal and Spain conduct joint operations during the Easter period


The Minister of Internal Affairs of Portugal, Miguel Macedo, and the Interior Minister of Spain, Jorge Fern�ndez D�az, announced the launch joint patrols by the security forces of the two countries over Easter. This measure aims to ensure a police service  in their own language for  Spanish and Portuguese nationals travelling across the border during the Holy Week vacation.


The joint patrols fall within the "European Squadrons" project that was jointly presented for the first time in Lisbon on March 25, 2013, and referred the Ministries responsible for internal security of the two countries.


This is the second year the project has been conducted and takes into account the movements of Portuguese and Spanish tourists in certain areas in both countries including Torremolinos and Benalmadena in Spain from 5th - 14th April and Lisbon and Braga in Portugal from 16th - 21st April.

During XXVI Luso-Spanish Summit, held in Madrid on 13th May 2013, the two ministers decided to reissue this initiative and agreed on conducting joint patrols during Holy Week 2014.


Spanish National Police arrest seven for indoor residential robberies in Costa del Sol


It was reported 17th April 2014 that agents of the National Police have dismantled a specialized organized group, which sometimes used violence and intimidation to conduct thefts from holiday homes and luxury homes. The operation resulted in the arrest of seven persons of Spanish, Albanian and Romanian nationality. They have been charged in connection with robberies at 20 homes in the Costa del Sol. 


Agents have also searched addresses associated with members of this group in the towns of Estepona, Salou, Cambrils and Madrid. Items involving more than 16,000 euros in cash and numerous jewels, watches, bags of prestigious brands, computers and mobile phones worth over 200,000 euros have been seized.


Members of this group conducted prior surveillance of the homes they intended to break into, primarily single-family luxury homes, before committing the theft. They used sophisticated electronic devices including systems that allowed them to see inside the homes through the closed circuit television installed in buildings.


When the attackers were able to access homes, their main objective was to locate cash, jewelry and other valuables. It is estimated that those arrested obtained more than 300,000 Euros in dozens of robberies on the Costa del Sol, especially in affluent areas of Marbella and Estepona.


To commit assaults, members of the criminal group travelled along the Spanish Mediterranean coast and temporarily stayied in houses in Malaga, Alicante, Tarragona and Madrid. They also periodically traveled to Portugal and Greece to try to hinder police investigations.



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


PSP Lagos arrest three foreigners for drug trafficking 


Almancil - Person arrested for drug trafficking 


Judicial Police arrest person for Lagoa murder 




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.

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



22 April 2014


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