Apologies for the slight delay in the production of this newsletter.
We have probably had the busiest period since our formation with four events covering seven days in a period of less that two weeks.
Firstly I must thank the nearly 100 people who attended the Land Cleaning Awareness Seminar held in Tavira on 22nd June. Some really good presentations, pertinent questions and excellent feed back. This makes the effort in organising these events truly worthwhile.
This was followed by the ALGARSAFE18 Fair over a period of three days organised by the Civil Protection Portimao. This included a very interesting seminar Dealing with Emergencies in Portugal - again with good feed back from those who attended. It was also a good chance to meet the Minister of Internal Administration who visited the Safe Communities stand and who expressed his gratitude for the work we our doing in close association with his ministry.
On 1st June I participated in a seminar concerning Safe Tourism arranged by the University of the Algarve in front of an audience mainly comprising police officers and others related to security and safety in the region. I presented the work of Safe Communities and an outline of 10 projects we are currently undertaking concerning safety and security for tourists. Some of these have been announced, others are outlined in this newsletter and the remaining ones will be announced over the next few weeks.
On 2nd and 3rd June we once again participated in the Algarve international Fair in Lagoa. Our stand concerned Safe tourism and we appreciate the fact that some 74 people took time to take part in our competition. The winner Barbara was the only one who scored the maximum. Well done. Thank You for Salão Elysium for providing the prize. It were also pleased to be visited by the British Ambassador Kirsty Hayes, who opened the Fair.
It was probably the best Fair we have attended to date, with over 200 people at least attending our stand and a great atmosphere that only Fairs of this type can generate. It was billed as the largest international fair of its type in Portugal and certainly in my view lived up to this claim. Well done Portugal News.
So you can see it was a busy time on top of our daily work routine.
In this newsletter, is news concerning the very large number of rural fires already this year, many of them caused through the uncontrolled burning of debris. There is plenty of advice available on how to undertake this safely. If you are burning please follow the guidelines which can be
Safe Communities Portugal
Portugal decreases slightly to fourth place in Global Peace Index
In the latest results just published Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. New Zealand, Austria, Portugal and Denmark also sit in the top five most peaceful rankings. Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, a position it has held for the past five years. Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq and Somalia comprise the remaining least peaceful countries.
Portugal dropped from 3rd overall position to 4th, but remains third place in Europe. Of the 23 indicators used in the rankings Portugal scored a very low one out of five (5 being the least peaceful) in the categories of violent crime, political instability, terrorism impact and political terror.
This is the twelfth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness. Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the GPI is the world's leading measure of global peacefulness. This report presents the most comprehensive data-driven analysis to-date on trends in peace, its economic value, and how to develop peaceful societies.
The GPI covers 99.7% of the world's population, using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, and measures the state of peace using three thematic domains: the level of Societal Safety and Security; the extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict; and the degree of Militarisation.
Safe Communities Portugal Declared Public Utility Status by Council of Ministers
We are very pleased to announced that Safe Communities Portugal has been declared a public utility by the Council of Ministers in recognition of our work with Government
Basically to be eligible we had to be formed at least 3 years and had to meet a stringent criteria.Many organisations do not get this for many years since their formation.
We applied at 3 year 9 months, and a big challenge we faced was that we did not fit into the categories, such as sports clubs and other associations. We also were rather ambitious in applying as a national organisation, whereas many apply as a municipal or district association.
Our association is unique in crime prevention in Portugal, and the fact that we had formed national protocols with the GNR, PSP, SEF and ANPC we understand provided a convincing case.
This year so far only 12 organisation have been recognised and in the last 5 years just over 100.
The numbers have been decreasing sharply from the highs of 2010 and 2011 when there were over 100 per year. The change came about following the deletion in 2011 of civil governors and the centralisation of the process.
Safe Village - Safe People Program - Protecting your house from fire
According to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 157-A / 2018, of October 27, this latest program "Safe Villages - Safe People" outlines self-protection measure for the population in the event of a rural fire affecting people and their homes.
Following a recent meeting between Safe Communities Portugal and the Secretary of State for Civil Protection, a publication in English has been produced that covers a number of important topics including action to take: if a fire approaches your home; if you get surrounded by a fire; if you are near a fire; if you are confined inside a building and action in case of evacuation. For those living in high risk areas the recommendation is to have an evacuation kit available.
Although this may sound dramatic, it is a fact that fires have been gradually encroaching into rural areas over the last few years hence the change of name from "forest" to "rural". It's therefore better to be prepared.
In addition to the leaflets an on-line video with English sub-titles is being produced by the ANPC supported by SCP and will be available for download from the ANPC and Safe Communities websites.
In some high risk villages, mainly north of the A22, awareness sessions are being conducted by the municipal civil protection and GNR, showing escape routes and assembly points should a fire break out. Contact the local camara and or follow their Facebook page to check if one will be held near you. Signage in these areas is also being put in place.
Finally if you can help distribute the leaflets through supermarkets and other outlets or directly in high risk areas in the Algarve please contact
May 2018 had three times more rural fires than last year
The National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) recorded 2260 rural fires in May, more than three times those of last year (707) and about six times more than in 2016 (380).
According to data sent by the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI) to the Lusa agency, May 15th was the one with the highest number of fires, with 221 occurrences, which mobilized the largest number of operational (more than two thousand), land and air (42 aerial media in the initial attack).
In the same month, the aerial fire-fighting device was involved in 396 missions, with a success rate of 97% in the initial attack. Provisional data from the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests indicate that the area burnt in May was 1101 hectares, compared with 724 last year and 610 in 2016.
The Special Rural Fire Fighting Device (DECIR) is at the reinforced level - level III until June 30 -, with 8187 operational vehicles, supported by 1879 vehicles and 37 air vehicles. As of June 15, the available amount of air assets available increases from 37 to 48.
DECIR 2018 currently has 3649 volunteer firefighters, 236 members of the Special Fire Brigade, 1081 members of the Protection and Relief Intervention Group (1081) and 954 members of the GNR Protection Service (954). 1415 Forest sappers.
By the end of the month, according to the MAI, 72 watch towers are operating, with a total of 288 personnel.
In the period of greatest commitment of DECIR (30 June to 15 October) 231 watchtowers will be operated by 924 personnel. The National Network of Posts will operate over a longer period, ending on 30 September.
Prime Minister - "Land Cleaning work should continue throughout the year"
Prime Minister António Costa visited the Monchique Air Media Center, where vehicles and civil protection equipment were present, before visiting a look-out post in Fóia and assisted in a cleaning action of a fuel band by teams of forest sappers, in a forest area in Monchique.
The Prime Minister said that land clearing work should continue throughout the year: "There is no deadline, it is an activity that has to be continued. If it was not done yesterday, it should be done today, if it was not done today, it should be done tomorrow. We must continue to make this effort"
The deadline for non-collection of fines for lack of clearing of the bush ended on May 31 - the law states that this deadline ends on May 15, but this year was exceptionally extended - but "our goal is not to charge fines, "Antonio Coata once again said.
"Our goal is to have a safe territory and what should motivate people is not the fear of paying the fine, it is the need they must feel to contribute to their own safety" and that of others, he added.
Cleaning up landfills should be a routine, such as "going to the doctor regularly, checking the car or putting air in car tyres," said the Prime Minister, who was accompanied by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita. Secretary of State for Forestry and Rural Development, Miguel João de Freitas.
Government stresses that GNR has the "highest level of investment ever"
The Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, said that the National Republican Guard had the "highest level of investment ever" during the inauguration ceremony of the new general commander of GNR, General Botelho Miguel.
In Lisbon, in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister António Costa, Eduardo Cabrita pointed out that this investment results from the new Law on Infrastructure and Equipment Infrastructures and Security Services, approved in 2017, and that in the first year of implementation it is being done with the GNR living a "very positive moment".
The Minister said that the GNR has dozens of infrastructures that are being refurbished, under construction as well as other projects, the biggest renovation of their car parks and a significant upgrading of personal protective equipment for their men and women.
Eduardo Cabrita also added that "recognition of the military that serves the community is essential" and said that, in this sense, another 1800 military personnel were promoted in 2018 and the unfreezing of careers has begun to be applied.
General Botelho Miguel "will follow a structural transformation that began a long time ago." said Eduardo Cabrita, referring to the challenge of preparing the entry of the first general officers trained in the Military Academy for the GNR.
Safe Communities Portugal sends it congratulation to General Miguel. As a Major-General he was the co-signatory to the protocol that we signed with the GNR in 2014.
PSP seizes truck carrying stolen cars
Two TIR trucks were seized by the PSP on Sunday night when they were parked on a plot of land near Miranda National Highway 15, a few meters from the junction with the A4. One of them was carrying seven stolen vehicles.
The operation was undertaken by the local PSP division, which began early Sunday evening (3
rd June), after receiving an indication that a car had been seen in the city that had been stolen a few days ago, but with a false registration.
The operation, which involved the deployment of 12 agents on the ground, culminated in the seizure of the two trucks, but the drivers have not yet been traced.
Enquiries to identify the drivers are continuing.
PSP arrested at Gaia ten people and seized more than 30 kilograms of hashish
A police operation to combat drug trafficking in Vila Nova de Gaia has led to the arrest of 10 people and the seizure of more than 30 kilograms of hashish, the PSP reported in Porto on Tuesday 5th June.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Command of the PSP of Porto stated that the operation of the Criminal Investigation Division which took place on Monday involved 16 home searches and three non-domiciliary searches in the area of the city of Vila Nova de Gaia.
The detainees, nine men and one woman, are between the ages of 20 and 60 and are all residents of Vila Nova de Gaia.
In addition to about 30 kilograms of hashish, equivalent to 155,000 doses, sufficient cocaine was also seized for about 15 individual doses, sufficient heroin for about eight individual doses, Liamba sufficient for about 437 individual doses, three motor vehicles and 4,800 euros in cash.
The operation was supported by Force of the Special Police Unit, through the Intervention Corps and the Cinotech Technique Group.
PSP states that in the scope of this investigation, which began in March 2017, a total of 17 citizens have been arrested and four others identified.
SEF intercepts citizens on suspicion of tobacco smuggling
The Judiciary Police, National Unit to Combat Trafficking in Narcotics, has identified and detained a foreign citizen at Humberto Delgado Airport in Lisbon strongly suspected of drug trafficking.
In the possession of the detainee, was a significant amount of cocaine being transported from a South American country to Lisbon, hidden in the structure of three suit cases. The drugs, would be sufficient for the composition of at least 54,000 individual doses.
The 25-year-old defendant was present at the first judicial interrogation of an accused held before the competent judicial authority for the application of pre-trial measures considered appropriate.
The investigation is being carried out by the Judiciary Police.
Portimão Hospital to have first AVC Mutual Assistance Group for stroke survivors in the Algarve
The first Mutual Assistance Group (GAM) for stroke survivors, their families and caregivers, began operating this Wednesday, June 6 at 4:30 p.m., in a room at the Hospital de Portimão.
"The stroke survivors, their families and caregivers, but even health professionals, need to have a place to talk, where exchange experiences," explained nurse Ivone herself a survivor of a stroke when she was 29 years old, in an interview with
Ivone Máximo, who is responsible for the initiative in Portimão, along with Maria Adelaide Corvelo, physiotherapist coordinator of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, points out that there are already support groups throughout the country, "except in the Algarve region".
In this first one-hour meeting, open to all and without registration, the president of the Portugal AVC association, responsible for launching these Support Groups at national level, participated.
"One of the great goals of GAM is to break the isolation" of the survivors, their families and caregivers. "In this support group of Portimão, there will be, first of all, the testimony of people like me, with 10 years of survival to a stroke, who have a great background , a whole experience to share," added Ivone Máximo.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in Portugal. And, contrary to popular belief, it is not a disease that affects only the elderly. "There are more and more young people" suffering from stroke, causing their incapacity, both motor and cognitive.
There are 970 phone connections to re-establish in rural fire affected areas
The president of the National Communications Authority (ANACOM) said on Wednesday 6th June that there are 970 connections to be restored in areas affected by the fires that hit the country last year, according to data from 1 June.
João Cadete de Matos was speaking at the Parliamentary Committee on Economy, Innovation and Public Works, within the scope of the PCP's request for the replacement of telephone links destroyed by the fires in October 2017 , and for the presentation of the business plan and programming of its development , in accordance with the framework of the regulatory authorities.
On 1 June there were "970 connections" to be restored, said the president of the regulator, pointing out that Anacom has "monitored in the last five months, week by week," the situation.
In March there were "4,500 people" with services to restore, "in April was about half, 2,600", a number that has been declining, but even so there are still "970 connections" needing to be reinstated.
Man accused of five rapes in Faro
The Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) has accused a 19-year-old man of four crimes of attempted rape and a crime of consummate rape in the city of Faro, Algarve, the Faro District Attorney announced Tuesday 29
According to the prosecution, between June and October 2017, the accused, around midnight, intercepted women who were walking alone, usually in the area of Avenida Calouste Gulbenkian, in Faro, for the purpose of rape.
"In some of the cases, the victims were able to flee or the defendant fled with the approach of someone," the prosecutor said.
The investigation was conducted by the MP of the 1st section of Faro of the Department of Investigation and Criminal Action, with the assistance of the Southern Judicial Police Board.
Holidays using Fake 50 Euro bank notes
Three French citizens, one of Portuguese origin, came from Marseilles to the North of Portugal to spend four days of vacations paying all the expenses with fake notes of 50 euros and receiving the change in real money.
Officials have been unable to calculate the total amount of counterfeit money put into circulation, but the amount is believed to be high.
The crimes took place in January 2015, but it is only now that the case has reached the Criminal Courts of Porto.
The three are about to go on trial, along with two Portuguese friends who participated in these "big and French" vacations.
Attempting to travel on a cancelled passport
Cases have been brought to our attention recently where travellers, who have previously reported their passport missing or stolen in their own country, but subsequently found and used it to travel to Portugal, have had it seized by immigration upon arrival.
Once you have declared your travel document as lost or stolen to your national authorities, it is cancelled and considered invalid. The details of the document are passed on to INTERPOL and entered into their stolen or lost travel documents (SLTD) database.
Border officials in INTERPOL's member countries can screen passenger information directly against the SLTD database.
If you try to travel with an invalid document, entry or boarding is denied. The travel document is seized to prevent its future use and you cannot travel.
If you have reported your passport lost or stolen, but subsequently find it you should report this to the issuing authority and apply for a new one. Do not attempt to travel with a document that you have reported as lost or stolen.
When an emergency happens it is important to summon help quickly. Emergencies can range from dealing with a serious accident; a heart attack; a fire or being a victim of crime. Portugal is very well equipped to deal with a whole range of emergencies and in many cases has some of best trained and equipped response services in Europe.
Since 1981 Portugal has had an Integrated Medical Emergency System (SIEM), which is a set of entities that cooperate with one goal: providing assistance to victims of an accident or sudden illness. These entities are the PSP, GNR, INEM, the fire department, the Portuguese Red Cross, Hospitals and Health Centres. INEM is the agency of the Ministry of Health responsible for coordinating the operation in mainland Portugal.
The system starts when someone calls 112 - The European Emergency Number. The service call connects to the national emergency centre operated by the PSP. Where the reason for the call has to do with health, it is transferred to the Center's Guidance Emergency Patients (CODU) unit under INEM.
Whenever CODU initiates an emergency response it is handled by the unit closest to the place of occurrence, regardless of the entity to which it belongs. More information can be found at the INEM website.
When dealing with an emergency it is important to remain calm and follow the emergency centre operator's advice. It is also essential that these numbers are only used in a genuine emergency, as non-emergency calls can result in delayed response to those requiring urgent assistance. English is understood but it is essential to speak clearly giving your name, location and nature of the emergency.
In addition to ensuring quick access to emergency contact details, Safe Communities Portugal has researched and provided on this page a comprehensive list of the various help lines and hotlines in the country. These can be downloaded here.
Civil Protection and Public Safety
Safe Villages - Safe People Program
On 29th May a Self-protection Awareness Session was held in the small village of Cumeada located between Silves and Messines.
This was one of the first sessions in the Algarve under governments "Aldeia Segura" e "Pessoas Seguras" (Safe Villages - Safe People) program. The purpose of the session was to brief villagers on how to protect themselves should they be affected by a rural fire. The session covered:
- Local high fire risk areas
- Creation of fire breaks and future ones planned
- Escape routes in the event of a fire
- Location of assembly points
- Familiarisation of fire escape route and assembly point signage
- The identity of the local auto-protection fire agent
Similar sessions will be rolled out in HIGH RISK villages throughout the country organised by municipal councils.
The "Safe Village" program is defined as a "Population Cluster Protection and Rural Protection Program" and is intended to establish "structural measures for the protection of people and goods, and those built at the urban-forest interface, with the implementation and management of protection zones to clusters and strategic infrastructures, identifying critical points and places of refuge."
For its part, the "Safe People" program aims to promote "awareness-raising actions for the prevention of risk behaviour, self-protection measures and evacuation drills, in articulation with local authorities.
More details about this important program and how it may affect you can be downloaded in
For those of you living in such areas please monitor the local municipality website and Facebook page to see if and when similar seminar will be held in your area.
Here is some important advice ahead of the summer season. Changes in cliffs brought about by erosion can be dangerous due to rock falls and landslides. Previously civil protection have advised people to be aware of this, so it is is timely to repeat this advice here.
These cliffs can be dangerous due to:
- Erosion at the base and at the top
- Breakdown of rocks and soil caused by impact of the waves
- Rapid changes in sea levels
- Heavy rainfall
- Changes in ground levels
- Erosion caused by subterranean collapse
Measures to adopt to reduce the risk;
- Use beaches that are manned by lifeguards
- Do not stay or park close to the edge of cliffs
- Avoid potentially dangerous routes that cut through cliffs to gain access to beaches
- Move away from the foot of cliffs with loose stones or look unsafe
- Respect danger signs, indicating fallen rocks, and dangers of submersion by high tides and waves and signs showing that it is dangerous to approach the edge of cliffs.
Following the above advice will reduce the risk of you becoming a victim of an accident.
Cybercrime and Computer Security
What to do if you think your computer has been infected by malware
By using up to date virus protection on our computer, we hope that this will not happen. However if it does it is important to know what action to take: Luckily there are a number of free tools available to remove malware. Some of these are as follows:
More information about protecting your computer can be found on our website here.
Tips to avoid hackers gaining access to your emails
It is a fact that many frauds can be traced back to hackers being able to gain access to your email account and therefore read your messages. A worrying thought especially given the type of sensitive information people include in their email messages; such as passwords and bank account details.
The following tips will help reduce the risk;
- It is a good idea to consider using different email accounts for different purposes such as work, personal, online shopping etc. This spreads the risk and will also help you figure out what precisely may have fallen into the wrong hands if one of them is hacked.
- Enabling 2FA is one of the best ways to make sure your accounts don't get hacked. 2FA is a feature that asks for more than just your password. It requires both "something you know" (like a password) and "something you have" (like your phone). Most email suppliers provide this feature and have step by step instructions on how to install it.
- If you receive an email from a sender you don't recognise, don't click on any links or download any attachments. Hackers will often try to trick you into revealing your password or downloading a virus onto your device to gain access to your account. Additionally have anti-virus installed on all your devices and keep it up to date.
- Avoid logging into your email account from a public computer (e.g.. at a hotel, internet cafe) as it could be infected with spyware Additionally don't connect to unsecured public Wi-fi, use mobile data services such as4G to access your accounts instead.
- Passwords are your first defence against hackers. For a secure password you should use three words and include a symbol, upper/lower case letters and numbers. Remember the more complex and unique to you your password is, the harder it is to crack.
Organised crime group involved in manipulating professional tennis competitions arrested
In an international investigation led by the Belgian Police and the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, supported by Europol, an organised crime group actively involved in manipulating professional tennis competitions has been disrupted and 13 suspects have been arrested in 21 house searches across 12 different locations in Belgium. Material of evidential value, including many mobile phones, computers and cash, was seized.
Several other house searches and interviews were also simultaneously coordinated in other countries targeting additional suspects of the criminal network. As part of the investigation, Belgium cooperated with investigators from Bulgaria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovakia and the United States of America (with support from the FBI).
Europol provided continued analytical support throughout the investigation. On the action day Europol staff were deployed on the spot and provided real time cross-checks and analysis of the information gathered. International police cooperation across the European Union and beyond is a crucial factor in the fight against sports corruption.
The investigation revealed that an Armenian-Belgian criminal organisation operating across different countries, both in and outside Europe, actively bribed professional players on lower-tier tennis circuits.
The bribed players mostly participated in the Challenger and Futures tournaments, the second and third-highest levels of professional tennis competitions respectively. The players had been bribed to obtain pre-arranged match results with the aim of betting on these fixed matches, thereby fraudulently boosting winnings.
The Armenian-Belgian criminal organisation consisted of several individuals, each of whom had a specific task, including anonymously moving large sums of money abroad.
International Criminal Group involved in money laundering, home burglaries and drug trafficking arrested
The Spanish National Police supported by the Spanish Tax Agency, the Bulgarian Judicial Police and Europol have dismantled an international criminal group involved in money laundering, home burglaries and drug trafficking.
The operation resulted in 14 arrests in Spain and 2 in Bulgaria. Four diamonds worth EUR 2.6 million and 720 gold coins worth EUR 1.1 million were seized by Spanish law enforcement authorities, alongside EUR 390 000 in cash, 14 luxury watches, 14 orthodox icons, 1 luxury vehicle and 3 weapons. In addition, a virtual wallet containing EUR 220 000 in cryptocurrencies was blocked and several bank accounts in Spain and Bulgaria were frozen.
The investigation began when the Spanish authorities detected an organised crime group dedicated to money laundering, home burglaries and drug trafficking. The criminal network - led by a Bosnian citizen and composed of Spanish, Colombian and Bulgarian nationals - had been operating since 2008.
Those arrested had accumulated a vast amount of precious metals, mainly gold and luxury watches, which had been taken during home burglaries. The metals were fused together in a crude and fraudulent way to then be sold on the legal market. The proceeds generated from the sales were then invested in real estate, artwork and crypto-currencies
They are accused of belonging to a criminal organisation, money laundering, document fraud, drug trafficking, burglaries and unlawful possession of firearms.
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 on 7th June 2018.
We also have a 5 minute feature named "Crimecheck" on Sir Owen Gee's Solid Gold Sunday which is usually aired at 0915 hrs on the last Sunday of each month. Over the last few months with the kind agreement of Owen we have run additional features covering topical issues, such as missing persons, rural fire prevention and Eurovision song contest security.
The next one is on
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.
Safe Communities Portugal
7 June 2018