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

10th June 2015


I am pleased to announce that we have launched the new Safe Communities Portugal website. All the details are in our lead article below. The Safe Communities Algarve website will remain, dealing more regional and local issues, whereas the SCP site will cover broader issues as well as those taking place in other  parts of the country. The new site contains some new exciting features which should help you concerning crime prevention and public safety.

We are proud that this is the first national website of its type in Portugal, and certainly the only crime prevention website in English.

Just a reminder that we also have our Facebook page currently standing at around 3500 likes, where you can find the latest news as well as any urgent messages that we receive concerning public safety and security. If you are a Facebook user please visit the page and help share news with your friends. 

Apart from our lead article this edition of the newsletter covers: the WEF report rating Portugal highly in terms of safety and security; some excellent arrests including the dismantling of a Romanian gang; distraction crime and supermarket car parks; our Annual General Meeting; an international drug trafficker arrested at Lisbon airport; arrest for an attempted rape; report on our stand at the Algarve International Fair; "ATM cash trapping" cases in Loule; Estou Acqui "I'M Here" Child safety Program; British tourist arrested for attempted bribery; GNR recover stolen bee hives; a bank phishing scam; SEF operation against illegal stayers; Social media safe use guide for young adults; latest results concerning Crimestoppers Operation Captura and lastly  this months Top Crime Prevention Tips. 

If you would like to share your experiences concerning crime prevention or public safety or are in an industry perhaps where you have a good practice you would like to share with others please let us know through our contacts page.

Launch of Safe Communities Portugal Website

Portugal's First National Crime Prevention Website 

With the support of Portugal's law enforcement agencies, we are pleased to announce the launch, on 4th June 2015, of the first national crime prevention website in Portugal. This builds upon the success of the association's Safe Communities Algarve's (SCA) website, which was original launched in November 2011, and is now visited in 26 countries and in May received 230,000 hits and 1700 daily page visits.

The design of the site undertaken by Claire Kellock, started in November 2014, as it became apparent that the demand for SCA's services had extended beyond the Algarve. In fact enquiries are regularly received from overseas from people who have visited Portugal as those planning to move or invest here. Following discussions with the national police authorities in Lisbon, it was therefore decided to embark on a new site with some of the input being provided by them.

The new SCP site follows the same basic design of the SCA site but incorporates some new important features.


Given the large increase in the number of cybercrime enquiries it was decided to launch a cybercrime section divided into a number of pages, including a Cyber security alert page. This page is updated daily where necessary and shows samples of threats and attacks that people have received in Portugal and have brought to our attention as well as global attacks that may affect the country. We are grateful to Jim Litchko, a computer security analyst for his expert help in creating this facility.


Another new feature is a "For tourist" page. Although Portugal is one of the safest places to visit in Europe, it is important it remains so. Crime prevention tips are in seven languages at present and it is hoped to include Russian shortly.


We have also added a section on safety advice for children named "Keeping Kids Safe", as well as the most comprehensive emergency contacts and hot-line contacts list available. The latter includes "click-through" contacts to the main support organizations in Portugal dealing with health, safety, and social services.


Following discussions, with the Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE) they are also featured in the police section on the website together with the GNR, PSP, SEF and the Judicial Police. We are grateful for the assistance and input received from these organizations.


The civil protection area on the website has been expanded from that available on the SCA site with a particular focus on forest fire prevention, given the risk this poses in many parts of the country.


With over 70 crime prevention downloads, it is hoped that the new site will help further enhance awareness of crime prevention, public safety and cyber security within all communities, supplementing the work of the various law enforcement agencies.  


These are only some of the new features and more details can be found by visiting the site at  


The current Safe Communities Algarve website www.safecommunitiesalgarve.com will be retained in order to serve the local community in the region.

World Economic Forum (WEF) rates Portugal highly in terms of Safety and Security

In its recently produced report for 2015 the WEF Travel and Tourism Competiveness Report rates Portugal as 10th out of 141 countries in terms impact of crime and violence on the cost to businesses. (One being the lowest cost and 141 place being the highest cost to businesses).


The report rates each country individually covers four sub-indexes, 14 pillars, and 90 individual indicators, distributed among the different pillars these range from the environment, trade, price competitiveness, employment, social conditions etc. 


Closely aligned to this is the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) - Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism summary report for 2015, which concludes that in the last two years the world has been facing geopolitical tensions from the Middle East and Ukraine to South-East Asia, growing terrorism threats and fear of the spread of global pandemics. Should they persist, these global challenges could have significant further repercussions on the Travel and tourism industry, as they touch on the pre-condition for the sector to grow and develop-the ability of people to travel safely.


To date, the effect of such events on travel & tourism has been mixed. While some countries have witnessed significant decreases in the number of international visitors, other destinations have remained unaffected.


Interestingly, it is notable that the travel and tourism sector has actually continued to grow over these past years and according to the Portugal study report by the WTTC all economic factors within the industry are forecast to grow this year. The WTTC report is good news for Portugal.


Noteworthy in the WEF report is that of the 19 factors for each country, Portugal's highest rating is for Safety and Security, compared for instance with "International Openness" where it is placed 72nd and Health and Hygiene at 35th place.


Apart from the crime impacting on business costs, the report rates the "reliability of the Police Service, placing Portugal in 29th place; the most reliable police service being Finland followed by New Zealand. The UK is rated 26th place, Spain 20th and France 30th.


As expected in terms of terrorism, Portugal rates highly at 7th place in terms of the impact on business costs, and in terms of the number of homicides is at 30th place.

Distraction Crime in Supermarket Carparks  

We have become aware of at least three distraction crimes (there are unconfirmed reports of more) that have taken place in Aldi Supermarket car parks at their, Almancil, Lagoa and Lagos, branches, the latest being on 4th June.


The typical modus operandi is for people to be approached when they are close to, or about to load their shopping into their car, by a person asking for directions. Whist trying to help (distracted) another person steals property from the basket or the car. In these cases it was handbags. Some of these cases have been reported to the police and Safe Communities Algarve has requested this be taken up with Aldi management.


This is not the only distraction technique used. In another case a person found that his tyre was deflated iat a car park at Maxmat, and on being offered help, another person stole his belongings.


Although not a distraction crime, there is another report on our Facebook page of a person whose shopping trolley was stolen from inside a Aldi store, whilst he visited the toilet.


Please therefore be aware that these crimes are taking place and take extra precautions in car parks that you do not lose site of your goods, particular at Aldi branches.


Lastly I thank people for bringing this to our attention. If you do become a victim please report this to police, so that hopefully those involved can be brought to justice.

Annual General Meeting  

Our AGM was held on 26th May 2015. Apart from routine business, we held elections for two places: one on the Management Board previously held by Dan Birch and the other on the Fiscal Council, previously held by Natasha Gilbertson ( now Natasha Birch). Following their recent marriage both had to give up their duties due to their flourishing photographic business. The meeting thanked them for their work and wished them all the best for the future.


Replacing Natasha is Dina Filipe.  Dina was born in Sydney Australia and commenced hereducation there. On moving to Portugal she spent four years in Loule High School, where she was able to perfect the Portuguese language. In 2012 she was part of a team responsible for the creation and monitoring of a Personal Emergency Response System known as PERS. This worked involved interaction with the emergency services following which she was responsible for the team responsible for marketing. In 2014 she created her own business in villa rentals and bilingual help. Dina provides valuable voluntary assistance to SCA in translation services and communications.


Replacing Dan is Paula Santos. Paula works for EuroFinesco in Guia. She is very closely involved in local community work and has devoted much time to this. She has already helped the Association in translation work and communication with Government and will become part of our Fiscal Council.


My thanks to both for volunteering to help  our association.

Excellent Arrests 

GNR dismantle a Romanian criminal network  

The GNR arrested during the night of June 5, in the areas of Elvas, Ferreira do Alentejo and Grândola, six men for conspiracy crimes and robbery.

Six house search warrants were executed and vehicles,silver jewellery, 720 euros in cash, 32 kilos of tobacco and 147 smartphones, were seized. The arrested persons, aged 21 and 41, were part of an organization that undertook robberies targeted at commercial / industrial establishments, farms, houses and jewellers and were carried out mainly at night time. It is reported that they had taken part in around 10 robberies over the last four months.


Most of the detainees have criminal records, for the crimes of conspiracy, theft and armed robbery, one of whom was deported from the country in 2011. This investigation, which lasted four months and ended with the arrests was conducted by the GNR Criminal Section of the Operations Research Group of the Special Intervention Unit (IU), which was coordinated by the Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DIAP) in Lisbon. 


Fifty GNR soldiers participated in the operation including the Territorial Commands of Setúbal and Portalegre. Of the six arrested, five were held in custody.

International Drug Trafficker Arrested at Lisbon Airport  

A young man from S. Paulo, Brazil, was arrested by the PSP Metropolitan Police District on 8th June at Lisbon airport with 59 cocaine packages being carried inside his body. 


He was taken to hospital, where he underwent surgery for removal of the product and is reported to be in a stable condition.


According to the PSP, the suspect came from S. Paul and was en-route to Amsterdam via Brussels. The PSP seized 59 packages of cocaine, totalling 1024.51 grams, a further package with 113.07 grams of cocaine, $ 1,000, and a mobile phone.

Quick GNR response leads to arrest of two persons for burglary in Moncarapacho

It was reported on 4th June that two men aged 20 and 50 years were arrested by the GNR for carrying out a burglary at a house in Sitio do Grao, Moncarapacho.


The thieves were seen entering the property and the GNR alerted. They responded quickly and the thieves were caught close to the property. A total of 935 Euros in cash and a quantity of cigarettes believed stolen from the property were recovered.


One of the thieves has a previous record for drug trafficking.

Portimão - Judicial police arrest suspect for attempted rape


On 8th June, the Judicial Police, through the Department of Criminal Investigation of Portimão, in collaboration with the GNR, reported that they had identified and arrested a man for attempted rape - the victim being a woman aged 26 years.


The detainee, 29 years old, will appear before the first court hearing for the application of appropriate enforcement measures.

Portugal News - Algarve International Fair

Firstly a big thank you to everyone who visited our stand at the Algarve International Fair on 6th and 7th June. Certainly Saturday and Sunday morning were very busy, less so on the Sunday afternoon.


We were honoured that HM Ambassador Kirsty Hayes visited our stand and participated in the Forest Fire Prevention Competition.


The winner of the competition was, however, Jenny Compton scoring 8 out of 10. As well as a bit of fun the purpose of the competition was to gauge people's awareness of forest fire prevention and identify areas where people are less familiar.


In this particular competition the following questions were answered badly and as they are matters of safety, I will share these with you.


Question" The daily fire risk is shown in 5 colours, green being the lowest. What colour is the highest risk?


Most people gave the answer as red, but in fact it is brown. Red is "very high" and "brown extreme". These signs are often shown by the road side and you can check daily the information here. This is important for your safety, if you are heading into the forest and rural areas.


Question: What is the Forest fire hotline number?


Many people stated 112 which is the national general emergency: the correct answer is 117. The 112 operator will relay any messages, but the 117 takes you straight though to the Civil Protection coordination centre where the emergency services are represented.


Question: What percentage of forest fires are caused through negligence?


Most people put between 80 - 90% as the answer was d) over 90%.  

ATM "cash trapping" in Loule

Further to a report of an ATM machine being tampered with in Loule, a further five ATM machines have been discovered with steel rulers and glue in the bank note dispenser slots. This is known as "cash trapping", where criminals insert a small plate and glue, which stops the user withdrawing money from a machine. Sometime after the user leaves the machine the suspect then removes the device along with the cash.

The GNR has issued a warning to check carefully when using ATM's and do not accept help from third parties if you encounter difficulties at the time. Police should be called.

Safe Communities Algarve has a guide in English on the Safe use of ATM machines which can be downloaded here. 

GNR Silves Recovers Stolen Bee Hives


On 22nd May the Criminal Investigation unit of GNR Silves conducted a house search at a residence in  Fonte Louzeiros, Silves, in connection with the theft of bee hives.


This followed a complaint made by a bee keeper on 20th May regarding the theft of a considerable amount of beehives installed in the town of Silves.


During a search at a warehouse adjacent to a residence and an annex to the property the following the stolen goods were recovered: 171 socks handles; five boxes; six  nests; ten lusitanos nests; two cores; a lusitanian hive; 28 covers; two dozen boards; a  bidon with 320 kg of honey; a still; a centrifuge; a boiler to melt wax and a bidon with wax; an electric hammer, two  pressure machines and three saws and several pieces of copper.


The suspect, a Portuguese citizen aged 24 years, had already been indicted for committing criminal offenses, including theft in other municipalities of the region including Albufeira and Loulé.

To date five victims of theft of hives have identified the items seized as their property. The GNR are trying to identify owners of other stolen property not related to bee keeping.

Estou Aqui (I'm Here) Child Safety program 


The Public Security Police (PSP) launched on June 1, International Children's Day, the 4th Edition Program of "I'M HERE! ® (EA), an innovative solution created in Portugal in 2012,  jointly by the PSP and Portugal Telecom Foundation (Fundação PT). The programs aims to identify quickly and efficiently a child aged 2 to 9 years, should they go missing so they can be reunited with their parents.

The concept behind the I'm Here Program is simple and consists of three steps: requisition of a bracelet, made of fabric with a tag with an identification number, registration on the site and placing the bracelet on the wrist of the child. In case of disappearance, through contact with PSP police force or through the emergency number 112, the bracelet will allow the parents of the child to be quickly identified.


The PSP state "that in 2014 some 25,000 identification bracelets were issued through the EA program throughout the summer, and that's our goal for this year together with our partners: General Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, PT Portugal, through the PT Foundation and since 2014 also the MEO KIDS , RFM, TAP, Institute of Child Support and Missing Children Europe".

This year, by the end of the first week of access to the program EA website, 25,400 children have been enrolled and we have already started to deliver the first bracelets to police stations identified by people at registration, accounting to more than 3,500 bracelets. The most representative districts are Lisbon, Oporto, Setúbal, Faro and Braga. This included 40 children of tourists who are on holiday in Portugal. The EA site was accessed during the first week more than 150,000 times a compared to 139,000 accesses to the site throughout last summer.
The PSP has publicly expressed its thanks on behalf of all those who have built this solution for the children; they added "it is our commitment to ensure the levels of accessibility and activation of bracelets for this this summer"


Safe Communities Portugal recommends the use of this bracelet for young children particular if you are intending this summer to visit crowded places, theme parks etc. It's free of charge and operated by the PSP police.

Full details of the scheme can be found here

To make a request for a bracelet click here

Please note in making an on-line request it can take around 7 days for the bracelet to become available. However if you visit any PSP station in the Algarve (Portimao, Lagos, Faro, Olhao, Tavira, Faro Airport and V.R.S.Antonio) it is possible to register and collect a bracelet. Location of PSP stations can be found here.

GNR detain British tourists in connection with drink driving, assault and attempted bribery

The GNR detained British tourists in connection with drink driving, assualt and attempted bribery

In the early hours 28th May a GNR patrol in Quarteira intercepted a car which was being driven erratically on a route between Quateria and Loule.


The driver, a British tourist, was tested for drink driving and was found to have around 2.00 g/l, well above the limit of 0.50 g/l. Realising he was about to be arrested a passenger in the vehicle aged 60 years, also a British tourist, produced what was described as a  "bundle of bank notes" around 1000 Euro, in an attempt to bribe the GNR officer.


Both resisted arrest,attempted to assault the GNR officers and were arrested. 

SEF arrests two foreigners for illegal stay in the country

 The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) stopped in the early hours of Saturday (6th June) two foreign nationals illegally resident in Portugal in a joint operation with the GNR which took place in nightlife establishments in Vilamoura. 


In a statement, the SEF said that one appeared  before Court and the other was escorted to the SEF border post at Faro Airport for clearance in the shortest possible time, given that the person was already the subject of an expulsion order. 


In the operation  four other foreign nationals were order to leave Portugal within 20 days because of residential irregularities. 

Banco Bancaja Phishing scam 

The following email is being circulated at present


Do not reply to the email. It is a phishing scam from a cyber criminal who is trying to steal your information. Simply delete.


"Banco Bancaja Madrid Spain

Address: Avenida de la Albufera 111,

28038 Madrid Spain.

Email: banco_bancaja (at) accountant.com

Contract Fund Credit From Banco Caja Bank Spain


Full details of the scam are on our Safe Communities Portugal Cybersecurity alerts page

Social Media Safe Use Guide for young adults 

Young adults and children are especially susceptible to the threats that social networking sites present.  Although many of these sites have age restrictions, predators may misrepresent their ages so that they can join.  By teaching our young adults and children about Internet safety, being aware of their on-line habits, and guiding them to appropriate sites, parents and guardians can make sure that they become safe and responsible users.


Our new website Safe Communities Portugal has some useful advice on this subject. Please visit our Social Media page  


If you have any additional advice which you wish to share please contact us. 

Crimestoppers Operation Captura 

Help track UK's Most Wanted Criminals - Update

The good news is that since the latest launch of Operation Captura two weeks ago, one fugitive has already been arrested.


For years, Spain has been an appealing hideaway for British criminals evading capture. But this changed in 2004 with European Arrest Warrants, making it easier to bring British criminals back to face justice.


Some of these wanted fugitives may have crossed the border from Spain into Portugal. Help track them down.


Safe Communities Algarve is working with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Crimestoppers in the UK. View pictures of the UK's most wanted fugitives by clicking on the Crimestoppers section on the home page of our website and if you recognize them report them on-line, following the instructions on the Crimestoppers page. Calls to crime stoppers in the UK can be made on (+) 44 800 555 111.


Reports made to Crimestoppers will be anonymous and you will never have to speak to police or give your details.


Help now in bringing to justice some of the UK's most wanted criminals.

This months top crime prevention tips

As we are approaching summer I would like to highlight a number of crime prevention tips available on our websites. These tips can help you have a safe and secure summer. Just Click on the following links below:

How you can help - Donation for crime prevention in the Algarve

Each week Safe Communities Algarve 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 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.

Safe Communities Algarve - Regular Features
Just a reminder that in addition to our website and Facebook page, Safe Communities Algarve produces regular crime prevention features to help the community. These are  in the Algarve Resident where there is a full page feature in the first issue each month. The latest feature out on 4th June was "Portugal without Fires".

We also have a 5 minute feature named "Crimecheck" on Owen Gee's Solid Gold Sunday which is aired at 0920 hrs on the last Sunday of each month. The last one, on 31st May was on Forest Fire prevention.

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

Safe Communities Algarve



10 June 2015