By PAULO SILVESTRE & INÊS LOPES [email protected]
Albufeira council was due to host a meeting yesterday (Thursday) with the Minister of Internal Affairs (MAI) Miguel Macedo, representatives of GNR and PSP police forces, and mayors from the Algarve to discuss security issues in the region.
The meeting follows a request made by Albufeira Mayor Desidério Silva to the minister Miguel Macedo and the General Commander of the GNR police, Lieutenant Newton Pereira, and was due to be held at the headquarters of the local GNR police and, later, in the Albufeira Câmara offices.
On the table were various issues related to security in the Algarve, which is causing alarm to local authorities due to an emerging wave of assaults and robberies this summer that may damage the image and reputation of the region as a safe tourist destination, according to tourism chiefs and Algarve mayors.
The meeting will serve to analyse the current situation in the Algarve and to outline concrete plans to improve the response of security forces in the Algarve, and especially in the most critical areas of Albufeira.
According to Desidério Silva, the new government has brought new expectations in relation to solving the issue of security in the Algarve.
“As a tourist destination, the Algarve is more exposed to crime situations than other regions in the country and we cannot let the image of the Algarve as a safe tourist destination be damaged,” he said.
“I’m very pleased that the Minister of Internal Affairs and police forces are open to work with us in creating better security conditions in the region.”
Meanwhile, Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã reported figures that showed an increase in crime cases in Albufeira of more than 10% from January to June this year in comparison to the same period last year.
A spokesman for the GNR told the Algarve Resident: “I don’t think there has been a substantial rise in crime in the region as a whole.
“I am not sure where Correio da Manhã obtained the information about the crime statistics for Albufeira, but it wasn’t from me. Regarding the Algarve as a whole, I don’t think we should be alarmist over what is probably a 1% increase in crime in the Algarve. And if you compare the figures to 2009, you will probably find that crime has gone down.”
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