By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]
Incidents of murder, rape and abduction have increased in Portugal over the past year according to preliminary data from the Relatório Anual de Segurança Interna, the annual homeland security report, released to Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã.
According to the report for 2009, the overwhelming majority of all violent crimes (90 per cent) took place in just three areas of Portugal, in the districts of Lisbon (41 per cent), Porto (27 per cent) and Setúbal (22 per cent).
However, the number of violent crimes has increased generally since 2008.
Initial figures show that the number of abductions in Portugal has risen the most, in comparison to other serious and violent crime, from 493 in 2008 to 563 during 2009.
Meanwhile, the number of recorded robberies on petrol stations has dropped from 602 in 2008 to 510 last year. Robberies on banks have also fallen from 201 in 2008 to 171 in 2009.
While the figures have shown large percentage increases in violent crime nationally, if Portugal is to be compared to England and Wales then the levels of murder and kidnapping are on a par when examining the data on a per capita basis, and the incidents of rape are very small compared to England and Wales.
The 2008/09 Home Office Statistical Bulletin for Crime in England and Wales released in July last year shows that the number of murders committed between April 2008 and March 2009 in England and Wales was 648 while the number of rapes was 13,133 for the same period and there were also 2,034 cases of kidnapping reported.
A similarity between the two countries comes when looking at the percentage of crime committed in concentrated areas, especially in large cities.
In England and Wales, 59 per cent of all crime is committed in three areas: London, Manchester and Birmingham.
Although cases of violent crime have increased in Portugal, the general picture of the country remains relatively positive.
When looking at Portugal on a global scale, the number of total recorded intentional homicides per capita is 0.023 per 1,000 people, ranking Portugal 33rd out of 62 countries in the world according to data from the Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems.
The annual homeland security report is due to be completed and released in full on March 31.
Details of the report when released will be available to view at the Portuguese government website at www.governo.gov.pt (only available in Portuguese).