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

31 October 2019


A warm welcome to our Halloween edition of this newsletter and especially to all those who have subscribed recently.

The recent Government elections in Portugal have brought about a number of changes which affect Safe Communities Portugal.  As a result of the re-shuffling of Ministers and Secretaries of State, three of  our closest contacts are moving. 

Firstly Ana Godinho, who has been Secretary of State for Tourism has been promoted and appointed Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security. She has given considerable support to Safe Communities and has been an excellent leader and an inspiration in promoting tourism resulting in an increase in visitors to the country. We have worked together on a number of projects, and communication with the tourist industry in the area of safety and security has improved considerably as a result of this collaboration. We wish her all the best for the future and look to working with her s uccessor  Rita Marques.
The second move is the Secretary of State for Internal Administration Isabel Oneto, who is leaving Government. We have enjoyed excellent support from her and she was instrumental in Safe Communities Portugal becoming a partner in the Local Security Contracts (CLS) scheme with local municipalities. This led to us signing two protocols with the Ministry of interior delivering new initiatives in the areas of security. We have met on many occasions over the last two years and we wish her all the best in the future. Her successor is  Antero Luís and we look forward to working with him. The Minister of Interior Eduardo Cabrita remains in place.

The last move is indeed a major promotion; that being Patricia Gasper moving from the Deputy National Operations Commander ANEPC to becoming the new Secretary of State for Civil Protection. We have worked closely with Patricia over the last 5 years and she is a person who is inspirational in her work, a charismatic leader and very professional in every way. I am sure with her vastly increased responsibilities, this will bring new life to civil protection in Portugal. 

I have taken some time to outline these changes because working closely with these top government officials, is one of the reasons why as an organisation we have been able to bring about some improvements, by reflecting the views of the international community here in Portugal. I am sure this will continue.

The new government has also produced it Program for 2019-23 which has been approved by Parliament. This newsletter will therefore highlight some of the proposed measures in the area of civil protection and public security.

Lastly if you are going out to a Halloween party make sure your home is secured, and if driving (whether a vehicle or a broomstick) a reminder NOT to drink and drive.

We thank all our sponsors for your help in enabling us to continue with the work that we do. Thank you: Mestre Raposa, Avalon Funeral Plans, Algarve Getaways, TUI and Currencies Direct. .

To find out 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

European campaign launched against trafficking in human beings

Preventing Human Trafficking", "You Have Rights" is the motto of the new campaign to combat human trafficking launched on the European Day to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings.

The campaign was presented on the second day of the International Conference on Child Trafficking held in Lisbon, organised by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) and Europol.
SEF National Director, Cristina Gatões, made the official launch of the campaign, which has several informative materials to distribute to potential victims of human trafficking.

The main purpose of the campaign is to alert potential victims of key channels where they can find help, protection and information. The campaign also aims to make potential victims aware of the fact that they have rights across the European Union, including assistance and support, protection, human and labour rights, as well as rights of residence and reintegration.

In Portugal campaign materials are available in Portuguese, Czech, Mandarin, Hindi, Romanian, Russian and Ukrainian and will be distributed with the support of all Portuguese national entities and non-governmental organisations within the National Victim Support and Protection Network. 

This is an initiative at European level, coordinated by the European Crime Prevention Network, with the participation of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain.


It is noted that the UK is not included as a participant.

An excellent video highlighting this crime can be  downloaded here

Government plans new anti-corruption measures

The Government has outlined plans to create an ancillary penalty for political office holders convicted of corruption, which may prevent their election or appointment to political office for up to 10 years, according to the executive's program.

In the program of the XXII Government, there is a chapter dedicated to the fight against corruption, "one of the essential conditions for the health of democracy and for the affirmation of a transparent, fair state that guarantees equal treatment to its citizens".

This penalty will be extended to the managers and administrators of companies who have been convicted of the crime, so that their lack of suitability for the exercise of their duties can be decreed for a certain period.

The modernization of the register of interests of political and senior public office holders, enabling better cross-checking of data, more efficient publication of political party accounts and applying to all sovereign bodies, the obligation to declare income, assets and social positions, are other of the programmatic ideas contained in the proposals.

The Government also wants to require large companies to comply with their plans to prevent corruption risks, a condition for bidding for public works contracts of a certain value.

There are also proposals to improve public procurement processes, increasing transparency and eliminating unnecessary bureaucracies under pre-contractual procedures and establishing an obligation for medium and large companies to have plans to prevent corruption risks, setting the minimum requirements for compliance programs of large companies.
New system to signal potential victims and perpetrators of domestic violence

The Government plans to "stop the scourge of domestic violence" and proposes in the Government Program, "to develop an integrated signalling system for potential victims and aggressors".

Included are measures to promote the integrated action of the education system, the health system, the police, the judiciary and other agents and to focus on primary prevention, particularly in schools, universities and health services, in order to avoid dating violence and all forms of gender violence.

Thus, it promises "to expand the National Domestic Violence Victims Support Network to ensure full coverage of the national territory, while offering increasingly specialised responses to the various cases of domestic and gender violence.

In the program released on Saturday 26th October, the Government outlines the creation of a single point of contact for victims of domestic violence, where it is possible to address all issues, with guarantees of privacy and ensuring the monitoring and protection of victims".

"Unifying the Domestic Violence Database by establishing an information processing system that is based on a global and integrated view on homicides and other forms of violence against women and domestic violence" is another intention.

Tackling discrimination and racism

The Government has outlined its intention aimed at combating all forms of discrimination and strengthening the fight against racism and xenophobia. It help do so it plans to  create "an observatory of racism and xenophobia, as well as " institutionally empowering the fight against racial discrimination in treatment. of migration issues "

"Combating the direct and indirect segregation of adolescent children and Roma children within the education system", "create incentives to support young people from the Roma community for the continuation of their education in the 3rd cycle and secondary education, observing equality of gender "are other intentions.

The Government also intends to "develop, within the framework of the 1st Law program, specific initiatives to support the integration and access of Roma and Afro-descendant communities to housing, in order to counteract phenomena of ethnic-racial "ghettoization".

It also plans to develop projects in the "neighbourhood police" that promote in neighbourhoods of great ethnic and cultural diversity the security of citizens, dialogue, trust and respect between the population and the agents of the security forces.

Finally, raising awareness of racism and discrimination against ethnic and racial minorities, including through national campaigns.    

Top Stories

TAP employee arrested suspected of Human Trafficking

The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) have detained an employee of the Portuguese Air Carrier (TAP) suspected of trafficking in human beings and aid to illegal immigration, the security service said on 28th October.

According to SEF, the 31-year-old woman was arrested on Saturday at Lisbon airport, leaving a flight from Luanda (Angola), with transit to Casablanca, Morocco.

The woman was accompanied by two other adult citizens, 27 and 31, and two minors, one and seven, all foreigners, and were detected on the Lisbon International Airport by the inspectors of that security service.

After being asked about their IDs, these four citizens responded that they were in possession of another woman, who they then identified as being the now-held citizen, SEF explains.
The Aliens and Borders Service underlines that, "according to the risk analysis routinely carried out by the SEF Document Identification and Expertise Unit", and considering the mode of action, this situation was referred to the anti-trafficking in human beings team, which is at Lisbon Airport.

The SEF also says that the woman detained, of foreign nationality, will be present in court this afternoon.

TAP's official source confirmed to Lusa that "a Company employee, who was in the company's offices in Luanda, has been detained" and TAP is "collaborating with the investigating authorities".

Government Program to enhance Civil Protection

The Government plans to acquire by 2023 its own air capacity to fight rural fires in accordance with the priorities set by the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority, according to the Government program announced on 26th October.

In the area dedicated to civil protection, the XXII Constitutional Government Program approved by the Council of Ministers states that a "permanent professional response model" will also be defined, with the participation of the Special Civil Protection Force, the GNR, the Armed Forces, sapper, municipal and permanent intervention teams of the voluntary fire brigades.

The Government also intends to define "the technological requirements and management model of the state's emergency communications network, after the end of the concession to SIRESP in 2021".

In the next four years, the new territorial model of emergency response and civil protection will be implemented, based on regional and sub-regional structures, "in close coordination with the competent entities and developed with the participation of volunteer firefighters and local authorities".

The Government also intends to approve the Preventive Civil Protection Program from 2020 to 2030, integrating all disaster risk management areas with an associated financing plan, using national and European resources from the new Multi-annual Financial Framework, and implementing the Plan. Integrated Rural Fire Management Program, in particular the "Safe Village" program.

Arrested in Algarve one of the prolific paedophiles of the Catholic Church

A former Irish priest, considered one of the greatest paedophiles in the Catholic Church for admitting rape and sexual abuse to more than 20 children in the 1970s and 1980s, has been detained in the Algarve.

The person widely reported in the media as 74-year-old Oliver O'Grady was being sought by the Irish authorities on suspicion of child pornography. Since late 2018, O'Grady lived in Loulé, in the Algarve hills, where he fled after a recurring crime. On Monday, he was located by inspectors from the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Judicial Police, who complied with the European Arrest Warrant.

O'Grady has a long history of sexual offences against minors. In 1993, when he was a priest in California, USA, he was sentenced to 14 years in jail for crimes of sexual abuse. He served about half and was deported to Ireland. Then he moved to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Despite his registration and not working in the Church, he worked as a volunteer in a parish of Rotterdam, where he organized children's parties.

But the scale of O'Grady's crimes was even greater and was not known until 2006, when the convicted paedophile admitted to having raped and abused more than 20 children in the documentary "Deliver us from evil", which reported the crimes and the way the Church handled the case. It didn't stop anyway. In 2010, he was again arrested. 

A computer was left on a plane and police found more than 280,000 images, six hours of videos and 500 pages of discussion about child pornography. He was sentenced to three years in jail.


Trafficking in Human Beings

The death of 39 people inside a refrigerated container vehicle in Essex has highlighted once again, this terrible crime, where people are exploited by criminal groups with the promise of a better life in another country.

For the criminal groups involved the people being trafficked are treated as a "commodity" as is in the case of drug trafficking, with no interest or care taken in the conditions in which the people are transported. The aim off course is to make money, and there is much to be made, sometimes up to tens of thousands of Euros for the journey.

As law enforcement officials crack down using greater technology to detect such transportation methods, criminal groups adopt new tactics such as using refrigerated vehicles to avoid detection, thus placing the victims at greater risk. 

The victims are promised that once in the destination country they would then become employed and send money to their relatives at home. In reality however they become slave labour, and any earnings are paid to the criminal groups concerned.

In a European Commission report in December 2018, it was noted that in 2015-2016, Portugal had a higher proportion of labour trafficking victims per one million of the population than any other European state barring Malta. In fact, the Commission found that an estimated 65 percent of human trafficking victims in Portugal fall victim to labour exploitation.

The second largest group of trafficking victims are subject to sexual trafficking which accounts for 28 percent of known victims. The Portuguese authorities estimate that those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg with many more people passing unnoticed in the country.  
A majority of trafficking victims are males; 57 percent against 43 percent of females. The vast majority are also adults, 83 percent the remainder children. Most come from countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, India and Eastern Europe, (particularly Bulgaria and Romania) or countries in West Africa.

SEF regularly conducts operations against this form of trafficking and some cases are highlighted in this newsletter. On 18 th October they co-hosted with Europol a conference in Lisbon dealing with this subject focusing on the help available to victims.
Breaking News

Aljezur, Algarve - Person charged with qualified homicide

Old quarrels between two families led one man to plan to kill another with a shotgun on Amado beach in Aljezur, Algarve. The crime occurred in April on the victim's bar terrace, and the suspect has now been charged with qualified homicide and prohibited gun detention.

According to the indictment, released Wednesday by the Lagos Public Prosecutor (MP), on April 28, at 10.30 am, "the defendant fired at the victim two shots from a shotgun that caused his death."

The 42-year-old defendant fled after the crime but was detained at home in Carrapateira by inspectors from the Criminal Investigation Department of the Judiciary Police, with the help of the GNR.

The victim, Jorge Cabrita, 44, was the owner of the beach restaurant and was arranging the chairs on the terrace when André Lourenço shot him at close range. It was the culmination of old family quarrels, which worsened shortly before the murder with threats, insults and mutual aggression, which had already prompted a court case. André Lourenço is in custody.
Notable Arrests

Colombian detained suspected of stealing high value equipment from hospitals

The man was arrested in Spain. The network to which he allegedly belongs stole expensive equipment worth hundreds of thousands of euros from hospitals in Lisbon and Porto.

Following the arrest he was handed over to the Portuguese authorities on suspicion of belonging to a network that stole expensive, state-of-the-art hospital equipment for sale in the South American market. 

From the Egas Moniz Hospital in Lisbon alone, nine state of the art endoscopy and colonoscopy equipment, worth 200,000 euros, disappeared last January.

This is " A criminal business worth several tens of millions of euros" and affecting several European countries, says the Judiciary Police, in a statement - in Portugal the victims were "hospital units in the Porto and Lisbon area", e.g Egas Moniz. Where as a result of the thefts several examinations had to be rescheduled.

The 42-year-old man was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant and is suspected of "committing crimes of criminal association, money laundering and qualified theft in hospital units," 

Two weeks ago, another Colombian citizen suspected of belonging to the same network had already been detained in Spain. The woman is also in custody.

According to PJ, it is a "transnational criminal association" that steals "considerably high-value, high-tech hospital equipment that can be marketed for later use, generally in the South American market".

Arrested in Porto District person suspected of kidnapping and murder linked to drug trafficking in France

A 29-year-old Frenchman suspected of kidnapping, murder and drug trafficking in France has been arrested by the Judicial Police (PJ) in Ermesinde, Valongo municipality, Porto district.

In a statement, the PJ explained that the French citizen is "suspected in August, because of issues related to drug trafficking, to have abducted and violently beaten to death an individual in Amiens, France".

The information, the PJ adds, is "in the European arrest warrant issued by the French judicial authorities.

The PJ also states that, following the facts reported in the arrest warrant, the man "has fled to Portugal".

The suspect was arrested on Monday 14th October and has been presented to the Oporto Court of Appeal for judicial interrogation and extradition arrangements.

SEF detects 33 undocumented foreign citizens in Cantanhede

On 22 nd October the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) launched an inspection aimed at identifying situations of labour exploitation and aid to illegal immigration in the forestry sector in Cantanhede.

The operation took place on several public roads in the city of Cantanhede and led to the identification of about 60 foreign workers. Of these, 33 undocumented foreign citizens were detected as they were not qualified to perform any professional activity in Portugal.

Of the total number of undocumented workers, 31 were notified to voluntary leave Portugal within twenty days, otherwise they could be detained and subjected to removal procedures in case of non-compliance.

Two were detained, one for illegal stay, since he had already been the object of notification for departure from the country, and the other for the crime of violation of the measure banning entry into Portugal.

The employers who kept these workers at their service are already subject to breach proceedings, which will amount to fines of between € 12,000 and € 60,000.

The operation was undertaken by 17 SEF inspectors, 11 GNR military personnel and 5 ATA inspectors.

SEF detains woman suspected of exploiting foreign citizens for prostitution 

The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) carried out a series of operations, during the criminal proceedings investigating the crimes of aiding illegal immigration, trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and pimping, which resulted in the arrest of the suspect for exploiting foreign citizens for prostitution.

The inspection, which took place in the north of the country - Vila do Conde, Povoa do Varzim, Viana do Castelo and Fafe -, were carried out by 38 SEF inspectors. 

Searches were conducted in six households, in which several foreign citizens were identified. Of these, five were illegally staying in the country. They have been detained for irregular stay in Portugal and will be presented to court for enforcement measures, with a view to the initiation of coercive expulsion proceedings.

In the search large sums of money were seized together with various documents that reflected the  modus operandi adopted, the activities showing the entry and illegal stay of foreign citizens in the country and the large profits they obtained from the exploitation of prostitution.

The main suspect has been arrested and will be presented to court for first judicial interrogation within the next 48 hours.


Excellent investigation and operation by SEF
Safe Communities Portugal

Meeting with Deputy National Director SEF  

On 29th October , President Safe Communities Portugal David Thomas met in Lisbon with the Deputy National Director SEF Jose Moreira, 

The meeting covered the following topics:
  • Trafficking in Human Trafficking - Recent trends
  • Situation concerning making appointments with SEF
  • Situation concerning illegal immigration and labour exploitation.
  • Plans for specific immigration channels at airports post Brexit
  • New proposals concerning the work of SEF set out in the Governments 2019-23 program
  • Collaboration between Safe Communities Portugal and SEF
  • SEF law enforcement priorities
  • SEF staffing and recruitment
A very useful meeting. Follow up action will be covered in this newsletter and on our Facebook page in due course. 

Mediterranean Autumn Garden Fair Silves

For the third year Safe Communities Portugal participated in this very popular event organised by the Mediterranean Gardening Association. For the first time it was held over a two day period.

During the event we gave advice and helped over 200 people. There was considerable interest on the subject of Firescaping your Garden with some 150 leaflets on this subject being handed out.

Also very popular was the Emergency Medical card, a project initiated by Safe Communities Portugal last year. Some 180 leaflets on this subject were handed out.

We dealt with enquiries concerning GNR Safe Residence Program, Safe Village - Safe people, death certificates, etc, etc .

It was truly a multicultural event and we had enquiries from different nationalities, namely: Swedish, German, French, Estonian, Portuguese, British, South African, Polish, Irish and, Dutch.

Big thanks to David Marion, Peter Weaver, Jane Thomas for helping us with the stand and others volunteering future help.  
Presentation to the Finland Association of the Algarve

On 25th October Safe Communities Portugal made a presentation to the Finland Association in the Algarve.

The presentation covered the work of Safe Communities Portugal, crime prevention, the work of police, civil protection and rural fire prevention and protection and earthquakes.

A great turnout and some excellent questions. The Finland association has some 650 members.
Our thanks to Maija for inviting us and to the President Ilkka Saarni for the excellent hospitality.  

Local News

Two Firefighters in court for causing fires

The firefighters from the Alenquer Corporation, accused by the Public Prosecution Service (MP) of causing forest fires in Lisbon district, between 2017 and 2018, have appeared the Court of Loures on Tuesday (29 th October).

The prosecution of the MP, stated that the defendants, 21 and 24 years old - one of whom remains in pre-trial detention - were serving at the Alenquer Volunteer Firefighters Corporation. One volunteered in 2014 and May 2017, became a professional firefighter, while the other was a volunteer firefighter for the last six years.

The prosecution describes that, for reasons not fully established, the two firefighters decided to set fires in the municipality of Alenquer "to increase the response action to the fires by the Alenquer Volunteer Firemen."

In some of the fires, one of the defendants acted alone and in the others acted in co-authorship.
Arriving at the locations, "armed with ignition devices such as lighters and combustion accelerators such as gas or gasoline," one of the men stood behind the wheel of the vehicle, while the other "started the fire".

Authorities suspends two distributors of medicines for illegal exports and serious irregularities

The National Authority for Medicines and Health Activities (Infarmed) has suspended the license of two distributors for illegal exports of a drug and for "serious irregularities" in drug distribution activity and has filed nine infringement proceedings.

In a note sent to the Lusa agency, the (Infarmed) also says it has 10 other cases with additional investigations underway.

One of the distributors who had his license suspended was identified as marketing a medicine when it had been banned for public health reasons. The other had several serious irregularities during the distribution activity.

Infarmed recalls that since August, when the new legislation came into force that only allows exports of medicines to Europe, if the Portuguese market is stocked, to avoid shortanges in pharmacies, 173 inspections have been made to several entities.

Among the entities inspected were 56 laboratories, 25 wholesale distributors and 92 pharmacies, covering mainly 157 medicines.

Illegal racing leads to the referral of 10 children to Protection of Children and Youth Commission

GNR have seized 28 vehicles in an operation to prevent illegal racing and dangerous driving in the industrial zone of Vilarinho das Cambas in Famalicão. A 21-year-old woman was arrested for drug trafficking.

The event brought together around 300 people including 10, children, some babies, taken along with their parents. These have been referred to the Commission for the Protection of Children and Youth (CPCJ) for "being exposed to a high degree of danger by attending such events and for not having the necessary safety measures in place.

According to GNR, the initiative was "unlicensed, in a place with a history of organising similar events, without any kind of security. It was also associated with the consumption of narcotic products." 

There is, the same source says, the record of "several" road accidents "involving minors, dangerous driving and motorcycles," one of which was recorded last week and resulted in injuries to a person.

More than one million had contact with "fake news" in the election campaign

ISCTE's MediaLab, which monitored "propaganda and misinformation on social networks", estimates that more than one million Portuguese had contact with "fake news" in the month before the recent Government elections.

"It's the tip of the disinformation iceberg, a serious problem," said Gustavo Cardoso, a sociologist, professor of media and society who participated in the MediaLab project that was supported by Democracy Reporting International, a Berlin-based NGO.

In a country "with six million Portuguese with Facebook profiles ", and "from 80 examples" of groups and personal pages associated with the disclosure of misinformation, there were "at least one million people being reached with misinformation" in the month before the elections, he said.

SCTE MediaLab - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, a project to "monitor advertising and misinformation on social networks", chose 47 personal pages and 39 Facebook groups, two "hotbeds" of pages with political content, to do their analysis, the month before the elections, between September 6 and October 5

The MediaLab team identified over 6500 Facebook posts with misinformation or "fake news" content produced by the "hotbed" of personal pages, which had more than 1.1 million interactions that month, people who either put " like "commented on or shared a particular post that the team considers misinformation to varying degrees of rank.

UK - Police database flagged 9,000 cybercrime reports as 'security risk

Thousands of reports of cybercrime were quarantined on a police database instead of being investigated because software designed to protect the computer system labelled them a security risk.

The backlog at one point stretched to about 9,000 reports of cybercrime and fraud, some of them dating back to October last year. The reports had been made to Action Fraud and handed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), run by the City of London police.

They were added to a database called "Know Fraud" where they are supposed to be processed, assessed and distributed among investigators.

The problem was revealed on Thursday in the findings of an inspection by a police watchdog, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), on how forces were responding to cyber-dependent crime.

Insp Matt Parr, who heads the constabulary, said: "They have a problem in that they have got a backlog of crimes that they have been unable to pass out due to software problems."

The problem occurred as part of a system update that resulted in the "removal or disabling of some rules causing a high number of reports to be rejected", the force said.

A small number of lower priority cases in the backlog, such as those with incorrect or missing details, may date back to October 2018. Now 500 cases were waiting to be released from quarantine, a force spokeswoman added.

Crime Prevention

GNR Safe Residence Program

As many of you are aware, the GNR Safe Residence Program (SRP) started life in the Loule area and has now developed into a national program, adapted as necessary by the GNR to take into account local circumstances. It now has over 7000 registered properties in the Algarve and over 25,000 for the country as a whole.

Since its outset and in accordance with our protocol with the GNR, Safe Communities Algarve, helps the GNR promote the program and has provided assistance and advice to residents, encouraging many to participate. It is also a standard item for discussion between Safe Communities Algarve and GNR Divisional Commanders. 

With many new arrivals in the Algarve buying property here, however, some of you may not be aware of the SRP and the benefits it affords.

Basically the scheme operates in the rural areas. It provides a house number plus geo-referencing, which therefore enables the GNR to locate and respond to emergencies quickly. This helps overcome any potential language barriers and therefore wasted time, in having to explain where your property is located in contacting the police.

Registering with the SRP is done directly with the GNR. It is a free service and you simply need to call or contact the Safe Residence Team by email. They generally speak good English and some French and German is spoken.

The Safe Communities Algarve website covers this subject with information developed in direction collaboration and input from the GNR. 

If you know someone who has newly moved to your area please inform them about the scheme  and details on how to join which can be found here.

Civil Protection and Public Safety

One third of this years rural fires caused by uncontrolled land and debris burning

A third of the rural fires recorded this year and investigated were caused by extensive burnings and burning of cut and piled debris, reveals the latest report from the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF).

The interim rural fire report for the period from 1 January to 15 October indicates that, to date, the two most frequent causes in 2019 are "arson - attributable" (29%) and "burning of forest surplus together with burning of cut and piled debris which amount to 33% of the causes found.

The ICNF also states that re-ignitions of fires represent 10% of all causes found, lower than the average of the previous 10 years.

According to the agency, up to 15 October, 80% of rural fires were investigated, allowing the investigation to assign a cause to 65% of the fires.

The report notes that between January 1 and October 15, 2019, there were 10,841 rural fires resulting in 41,622 hectares (ha) of burned area, including forest (21,163 ha), bush (15,782 ha) and agricultural area. (4,677 ha).

Read more

IPMA launches weather warning App

The App named "Avisos@IPMA", provides warnings to the general population for the occurrence of hazardous weather situations, which in the next 72 hours may cause damage at different levels, depending on their intensity.

Green - No hazardous weather conditions are expected;

Yellow - Risk situation for certain weather dependent on activities

Orange: Moderate to high risk weather situation

Red - Extreme risk weather situation

In addition there are useful tables showing the criteria upon which various warning are issued shown by weather condition and district.

The new App is available through GooglePlay and Appstore.

More details are available from the IPMA

Road Safety

Roads with new road signs and information from April 2020

Lisbon, 22 Oct 2019 (Lusa) - New traffic and information signs, particularly to indicate areas of residence and traffic of vehicles with reduced pollutant emissions, will enter into force in April 2020.

The new regulation creates traffic signals indicating zones of residence or coexistence of vehicles and pedestrians, as well as zones of reduced emissions, which only cleaner vehicles can use.

There will also be signs of danger which include: approaching a passage for cycling, warning that the track may be crossed by Iberian lynx and amphibians.

Under the new signs of obligation are those that indicate a compulsory road for motorcycles and a road reserved for vehicles with high occupancy rate.

Warning signs are also provided on road pavements of speed limits in places where "special hazard situations may occur", in addition to existing vertical signs, in particular indicating a ban on driving above 30 kms per hour.

Read more
Overseas News

Thefts from the houses of high-profile footballers

The Spanish authorities have broken up a gang suspected of robbing the houses of high-profile footballers during games

In the framework of Operation OP HABITAT RINIA, the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil), in close cooperation with the Albanian Police and Europol, arrested 5 individuals for their alleged involvement in a spate of burglaries targeting the homes of high-profile football players in Spain.

The group, which consists of 4 Albanian nationals and one Spaniard, were detained as a result of a series of coordinated raids in Madrid and the nearby city of Toledo on 16 October 2019. 

Over the past few months, several Atletico and Real Madrid players have seen their homes broken into while they were away playing their respective matches. It is believed that the criminal group monitored the players' activities through their social media accounts to know when to strike. In some cases, there were family members inside the homes when the criminal group entered. 

The Spanish authorities seized jewellery, luxury cars and thousands of euros  in cash believed to belong to the players and their families. A number of items of sentimental value were also recovered, including a Champion League medal that had been stolen from the house of Atletico Madrid midfielder. 

Europol supported this operation by providing live information exchange and by connecting investigators with one another in the framework of operational meetings at its headquarters. 

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  14th  November dealing with the subject of Albufeira.

Due to the absence of Owen Gee who hosts Solid Gold Sunday we have had to temporarily  to suspend our "Crimecheck" feature. Hopefully this will return soon.

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



31st October 2019