Have your say on crime in the Algarve

By INÊS LOPES [email protected]

Rising crime in the Algarve is a growing concern among residents, particularly over the last five years, with 2009 being notable for an increase in cases involving criminal gangs.

This has alarmed everyone  living in the region but particularly the large expatriate community, who feared for their safety after reports of residents who were the target of criminals using extreme violence to burgle their homes hit national headlines.

Instances that sent shockwaves across the Algarve included an elderly Swiss woman raped by burglars, a German couple too scared to live in their home after a violent burglary moving back to their home country, a British family with young children attacked by a gang at dinnertime and a British elderly couple attacked and tied up while their home was ransacked.

All these crimes were carried out by highly organised gangs using extreme force, including firearms.

The days of vacant home burglaries seem a distant past while we witness the changing nature of crime in the Algarve, made worse by what many see as a weak judicial system.

After being approached by a group of concerned residents looking for serious answers and solutions to the problem, the Algarve Resident, with their help, compiled this questionnaire that we hope will produce answers as close to the reality as possible.

The results of this questionnaire will then be used to compile a report, in Portuguese, that will be passed on to the authorities as well as an in-depth article in the Algarve Resident.

Please spare five minutes to fill in this questionnaire, which should then be posted to the Algarve Resident offices in Lagoa, at Rua Visconde de Lagoa, nº 2 e 3, 8400-329 Lagoa.

Alternatively, a downloadable version of this questionnaire is available online here (or follow the Crime Survey link on the right-hand side of the home page), which can be printed and sent to our postal address, or emailed to me at [email protected]

We hope you will support this initiative by also asking your friends and neighbours to participate. We ask readers to send their completed questionnaires no later than Monday, February 22.