Gang dismantling major factor in crime reduction

A national security report published by the Direção-Geral da Política de Justiça indicates that in Portugal there were 376,336 crimes recorded, which represents a decrease of 6.9% compared with 2012. Violent crime fell by a significant 9.5% to 20,147 cases.
Preliminary crime statistics for the Algarve show that there were 23,060 recorded crimes in 2013, which represents a decrease of 9.3% on the previous year. This is the lowest figure since 2001 and is the fifth successive year that crime has decreased in the region.
Despite the downturn in crime, once again theft from vehicles across the country was the highest reported crime at 29,807 cases and this, together with theft of vehicles, represent about 11.8% of all reported crime. Although most crime categories decreased, there were 27,318 cases of domestic violence (against spouses/partners, the elderly and children), an increase of 2.4% making it the second highest reported crime.
For the first time in four years, however, robberies inside residences decreased, registering 848 cases compared to 995 in 2012. Household burglaries also decreased by 11.7% to 22,206 cases.
After some years of increasing cases of metal theft, 2013 showed a decrease of 11.5%, from 15,171 to 13,426 cases compared with 2012. Pick-pocketing decreased by some 6.6% but there was a significant increase of 19.8% in opportunist theft to 9,625 cases.
Unsurprisingly, there was an increase in scams reported to police, up by 759 to 12,287 cases and there were 1,105 cases of bank fraud reported, up by 267 cases.

The Algarve

Preliminary crime figures for the Algarve published by the Institute of National Statistics (INE) show that crime decreased in 11 of the 16 Algarve municipalities – the exceptions being Vila do Bispo, Monchique, Lagos, Alcoutim and Olhão, where there were slight increases.
The biggest decrease was in Vila Real de Santo António (-25%), followed by Silves (-22%), Albufeira (-12.8%) and Loulé, where crime decreased by 11.8% to 3,791 cases compared to 2012.
The significant decreases in overall crime in some of the inner areas could be attributed to a lowering of crimes against property, which includes burglaries, theft from vehicles and other thefts, where in Silves and Loulé combined showed a decrease of 20.2%.
Crime against persons which includes assault, robbery and domestic violence stood at 4,327 cases compared with 4,477 in 2012.
In the Algarve, crime against property constitutes 66% of overall reported crime compared with 53.7% for the country as a whole; crime against persons in the Algarve represents 19% of total crime compared with 22.4% nationally.
Geographically, there tends to be more crime in the populated central areas of the Algarve. In the less populated eastern part of the region, comprising Alcoutim, Tavira, Castro Marim and VRSA 2,110 crimes were reported which is 9.3% of the region’s total.


The reason why crime is decreasing is difficult to attribute to one single factor. During 2013 there have been a number of major successes in terms of police operations against criminal gangs, and police commanders indicate that some international criminal elements have left the country.
In terms of the Algarve, which is showing a more significant decrease in crime compared with the country as a whole, the likely reasons include the increase in police personnel during the summer months, special programmes such as the GNR Safe Residence Programme and the PSP Safe Destination programme, together with greater awareness and preventative steps being taken by the community.
Areas where more concerted effort is required include reducing the level of opportunist theft and minimising one’s exposure to scams.
David Thomas – President of the Associação Safe Communities Algarve
By David Thomas [email protected]