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

31 July 2014

Firstly my apologies to readers as we were unable to publish our last newsletter scheduled for mid July. Unfortunately there was a technical hitch which resulted in the need to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 8 and Microsoft version 2003 to 2013. Having done so and undertaken a sharp learning curve in getting used to the latest software we are now back to normal - indeed with a much improved system.

With the vast increase in population in the Algarve during the summer months there have been increases in certain types of crime in certain areas. There has also been some very good work by the GNR and PSP in arresting some of those responsible. However, much of the crime is preventable and in this issue I will outline the areas where we can all do more to protect ourselves and others.

As usual we have a comprehensive newsletter including very interesting news from the Judicial Police about Child Abduction Alert System that has been launched; some excellent crime arrests; the PSP Child Safety Bracelet System; World Day in Trafficking in Persons; pickpocketting and vehicle crime prevention advice; off duty police officers dress as a zebra and monkey commended; arrest of 36 drug traffickers by Spanish law enforcement authorities; superb cooperation between the Judicial Police and international law enforcement authorities resulting in the seizure of 32 million contraband cigarettes; good work by a Faro resident leading to an arrest and dealing with email scams.

Abduction of Children Alert System Launched



On 30th July the Judicial Police have announced a new initiative, called  Abduction of Children Alert System which is aimed at improving the mechanism for quickly finding missing children, when there is evidence of crime.


The implementation of this system is part of an initiative by the Ministry of Justice within the framework of international commitments undertaken by the Portuguese State, and is based on a project developed by the Judicial Police in partnership with the Attorney General's Office, which received funding from the European Commission under the program Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.


The Abduction of Children Alert System aims to collect information from the public, in the hours following the kidnapping of a minor, all the information which could assist their rapid location and release.


The system is based on a partnership between the judicial authorities - Attorney General's Office, the Judicial Police and civil society - media, companies possessing the means of disseminating information and non-governmental organizations (NGO s) connected to the support and protection of victims. 

The decision to activate the system rests with the Attorney General's Office, assisted by the Judicial Police.


When its applicable 

The system can be activated when, cumulatively, it appears an abduction or kidnapping, is endangering the life or physical integrity of the victim, there is information whose disclosure would enable the location of the victim and / or suspect.

When it is not applicable

System can not be activated in cases of parental abduction or disappearance simple; 

Safe Communities understands from the Judicial Police that the system is aimed at better regulating and creating a more efficient system for the fast dissemination of details of the victim through the media to help identify their location and safe return.

Excellent case
The Judicial Police participate in an international smuggling operation resulting in the seizure of 32 million cigarettes and 4 tons of tobacco


It was reported on 22nd July 2014 that the Judicial Police, through the National Anti-Corruption Unit (UNCC), in collaboration with the Maritime Police, under International Cooperation and in compliance with a request from the authorities of the Republic of Ireland, participated in an investigation into an international organized group trying to smuggle tobacco using a merchant ship.


The operation, which mobilized many inspectors of the Judicial Police throughout the territory, was triggered after several months of investigation and involved, among other countries, Slovenia, place of shipment of merchandise, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland, the country of destination and landing.


The operation culminated in the arrest of some of the crew members of  the vessel, the seizure of the vessel "MV Shingle" operating under  the Moldovan flag,  as well as 32 million cigarettes and about 4 tons of tobacco valued at about 14 million Euros.


The internationally organized group is composed of citizens of the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and the twelve ship's crew are Ukrainian nationality. This is the largest seizure of contraband tobacco this year in Europe.

Excellent case

GNR Albufeira arrest a foreign national arrested for over 10 thefts from hotels.


On 21st July 2014 a 36 year old British national was arrested whilst leaving a hotel in Albufeira carrying a stolen backpack.


The suspect was seen by the owner of the backpack who recognized the bag as belonging to him. The GNR were called and the man arrested. According to reports the culprit lives in Lisbon and was visiting the Algarve. He is suspected carrying out at least 10 thefts in hotels in the Algarve and other areas of Portugal as well as Malaga and Ibiza.


On being seen by the owner of the backpack he tried to flee but was intercepted by the GNR. A number of items were recovered including cash.

PSP - Child Safety - Bracelets scheme



The PSP police has launched its child safety bracelets scheme. The aim of this is that by wearing a bracelet should a child go missing and is found the finder can contact the police and through giving the special code on the bracelet the child can be reunited with their parents. The bracelets are available at all seven PSP stations in the Algarve and work in any country in Europe with a 112 emergency number.


It is recommended that the bracelets be worn for those up to the age of 12 years, whether the child is a tourist, visitor or resident. The bracelets are available until 30th September 2014. Upon issuing the bracelet, the details of the child and parents can be registered on the data base at the police station or later on-line. Some 30,000 have been issued to date.


Bracelets are also being handed out at airports by the PSP on a periodic basis.


In a new report released on 30th July 2014 Europol states that trafficking in human beings (THB) is a global problem and a thriving criminal industry that affects the lives of millions of children, women and men around the world who are trapped in a type of modern day slavery.


On 14 July 2014, Portuguese law enforcement authorities, with the support of Europol, dismantled an organised criminal group of West African and Portuguese nationals suspected of trafficking young mostly Nigerian women to Portugal and other EU countries in order to exploit them through forced prostitution.


Seven suspects were arrested in Portugal and seven house searches carried out. Mobile phones, computers and tablets and other significant material relevant to the investigation were seized including a false passport.


These results are part of the long-running 'Operation NAIRA', an investigation into human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, led by the Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF). The investigation has been focusing on an organised crime network which trafficked young African females, from West Africa, to Portugal, France and Spain where they were forced into prostitution. 

Read more about trafficking in human beings 



There have been a number of reports in the Albufeira area concerning pickpocketting. This has taken place in or outside crowded bars. it is believed that the culprits checks areas where there are crowds and possibly using the "bumped into" technique to relieve the victims of their valuables.


Crowded areas provide an attraction for pickpockets such as the tramway and metro in Lisbon when people are about to alight or board transport. The idea is to strike when the victims guard is down.


I guess many people reading this newsletter do not frequent bars in Albufeira late at night during the summer months, but if you have relatives/friends staying with you who may do so, please refer them to the Safe Communities Algarve's anti-pickpocketting tips available here.

Theft from Vehicles 

As mentioned in earlier newsletters theft from vehicles is the most common crime in Portugal and stands at roughly 8% of all crime. With the summer months there is a tendency for this type of crime to increase particularly at beach car parks and at supermarket car parks.


In the case of beach car parks the good news is that although these are normally free of charge the bad news is that they have little security. In the case of supermarkets the only one that we are aware of that has security patrols is Apolonia in Almancil.


Much can be done to reduce this crime and protect your property. An example of this was that recently a laptop was left on a back seat of a car at a supermarket in Monchique and guess what; the car was broken into and the item stolen.


Safe Communities Algarve has provided advice on how to reduce the risk of this type of crime which can be downloaded here.

Good work by Faro Resident 

It was reported on 29th July that a person was arrested by the PSP after a report was made by a resident that the person was acting suspiciously in a residential block in the city.


The resident had earlier reported that a stranger was in a corridor of the building wearing gloves and carrying tools suspected that could be used for breaking into apartments. When he was approached by the PSP they discovered a quantity of drugs in his possession.




Excellent community minded work by the resident concerned who probably saved neighbours from becoming a victim.

Crime Reports 

Burglary report at Montechoro, Albufeira


It was reported in the local media on 26th July 2014 that a property in Montechoro, Albufeira rented by a group of Spanish tourists had been broken into and over €1000 in cash stolen.


The culprit(s) entered by breaking an unsecured rear window. According to the report they found the key to the hire car parked in the driveway but the car was not stolen. There was an attempt to break into the neighbouring houses but without success.
Off duty police officers dressed as a zebra and a monkey commended for their bravery 

A pair of off-duty police officers who made an arrest while dressed as a zebra and a monkey have been commended for their bravery.PCs Tracy Griffin and Terri Cave were on their way to a fancy dress party when they came across a man yelling threatening abuse in a supermarket in Coventry, England in March 2014.


The pair, dressed in zebra and monkey outfits, wrestled the man to the ground as he left the Co-op store and told one of the staff to ring 999.


The man was arrested and taken into police custody on suspicion of public order offences, said West Midlands police.


The PCs, who are based in Solihull, spent the rest of their evening filing reports at the police station rather than heading to the party.


On hearing the news of the arrest, colleagues tweeted from @SolihullPolice: "Man threatening to kill people didn't expect to be wrestled to the ground by our off-duty officer in a zebra onesie. We go that extra mile."


Brian Eustace, 49, was later charged with public order offences and appeared before magistrates in Coventry in May 2014, where he was given a community order and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.The PCs' actions were described as "brave in the extreme" and "in accordance with the highest traditions of British policing".


At a ceremony in Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Tuesday night - dressed in their official police uniforms - they received a chief constable's commendation from the West Midlands chief constable, Chris Sims, in front of family, friends and colleagues 

Recognizing and Dealing with Scam Emails


This was published in the last newsletter, but as Safe Communities Algarve continues to receive numerous reports regarding scam emails the advice is worth repeating again. Opening a scam email can result in your computer being infected with devastating consequences.


In order to help people deal with this we have put together some simple advice which should assist you when you receive a suspected scam email.


Download advice here


Spanish law authorities arrest 36 drug traffickers

It was reported by Europol on 22nd July that a total of 36 people have been arrested and four others have been charged with belonging to an organised criminal group engaged in drug trafficking from the Spanish enclave of Melilla into Europe. Among those arrested was the head of the criminal group, a Dutch national with Moroccan origin.


The Spanish Guardia Civil, working with Europol, also seized cannabis resin totalling over half a tonne, €124,000 in cash, a sports boat, a jet ski and 22 luxury vehicles, two of which were equipped with sophisticated concealment systems. In addition computers, extensive documentation, 47 mobile phones, 3 GPS systems and a maritime GPS belonging to the boat were seized. The seizures were a result of searches carried out in houses in Melilla (5), M�laga (2), Almer�a (4), Madrid (2) and Amsterdam (2), a boat in Almeria and a shop in Madrid. 



Good arrests

Judicial Police arrest suspects for the crime of drug trafficking in Olh�o, Faro and Loul�.


The Judicial Police in the south area reported on 30th July that they have identified and arrested three men suspected of the crime of drug trafficking.


One suspect was arrested in Olh�o, as he prepared to sell the narcotic products and the other two were arrested in a room where they were packing the product.


In the search 159 doses of cocaine, a precision scale, other packaging equipment, mobile phones, computer equipment and a €100 in cash.


Police suspect that the arrested persons are responsible for the supply of cocaine in the areas of Olh�o, Faro and Loul�.


Those arrested, aged between 21 and 31 years, will be present at the first court hearing for the application of remand/reporting conditions.


Loul� - GNR arrest three persons for theft and drug trafficking

On 27th July 2014 the criminal investigation unit of GNR Loul�, in collaboration with the GNR Quarteira, conducted an operation to combat drug trafficking by executing two search warrants at two residences located in Quarteira.


The operation, was a culmination of an investigation into theft and larceny crimes, resulting in the arrest of three people aged 22, 27 and 28-year-old indicted for theft and drug trafficking.


During the operation 65 individual doses of cocaine and 25 of  hashish were also seized as well as several objects thought to be connected with the unlawful activity namely a game console, an iPod, a camera six mobile phones and even a clock.


The GNR consider that this has tackled those responsible for burglary and theft that occurred in recent days in Quarteira and Vilamoura.


Alvor - Man arrested by GNR for drug trafficking


On 25th July 2014 a 46 year old man was arrested by the GNR in Portimao in the area of Alvor for suspected drug dealing.


During an anti-drug operation in the area the GNR discovered 1635 doses of hashish; 2.3 gms of MDMA (ecstasy) and 2.4 gms of cannabis in his house and in a car.



Unlicensed beach sellers apprehended during operation at Rocha da Baixinha Maccente - Albufeira


On 23rd July 2014 the Maritime Police during an operation at Rocha da Baixinha Maccente, Albufeira apprehended 16 hawkers, 8 of whom were found to be unlicensed.


One of them a 30 year old Brazilian reportedly was selling swimwear using an ATM card reader/terminal. She was employed by a nearby company but had gone to the beach to sell various swimwear items. The 8 unlicensed hawkers were find between €25 and €2500 euros and some 1000 items including watches, sunglasses, accessories and towels were seized.



Quarteira - Report of domestic violence results in arms seizure


On 24th July 2014, the GNR who had been investigating a case of domestic violence, visited a property in Quarteira and arrested a person for the illegal possession of firearms.

A total of two revolvers, a hunting rifle, a shotgun, an airgun and various types of ammunition pus a knife and baton were seized.



PSP Faro district apprehend four youths for vandalism of over 100 vehicles


The criminal investigation unit of PSP Faro District Command,following a 6 week investigation, have apprehended four youths aged 19 to 22 years for damaging the windscreens of over 100 vehicles using a gas gun firing lead pellets.


The damage took place in June involving vehicles from Vila Real de Santa Antonio and Tavira. The operation leading to the identification of the suspects involved two house searches in Monte Gordo during which a moped and alcohol believed to have been stolen was seized. A small amount of drugs was also seized.


Unlicensed Security Guard arrested by GNR in Lagos


On 24th July 2014 a security guard patrolling a tourist area in Lagos was arrested by the GNR for not having a license. The security guard is aged 22 years and should have obtained a license issued by the Ministry of Internal Administration.



Quarteira - Report of domestic violence results in arms seizure


On 24th July 2014, the GNR who had been investigation a case of domestic violence, visited a property in Quarteira and arrested a person for the illegal possession of firearms.


A total of two revolvers, a hunting rifle, a shotgun, an airgun and various types of ammunition pus a knife and baton were seized.


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 31st July is about Personal Emergency Response Systems.

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 27th June was on the PSP Child Security Bracelet scheme, pickpocketting and theft from vehicles.

If you missed and of the Kissfm broadcasts these are available on the following link



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



31 July 2014


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