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More police officers for Algarve from November

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

Extra GNR officers and a more visible police presence across the Algarve this summer appears to have been successful, with statistics from the GNR revealing that violent crime in the region fell by 2.8% between January and September in comparison to the same period in 2010.

In 2011 there were 491 violent crimes registered in the Algarve in comparison to 505 in 2010 while thefts were down by 35.3%.

During the summer months, between June and September, the overall crime rate in the Algarve fell by 2.98% with crimes against people being down by 1.85%.

Concerns about the number of police officers in the densely populated areas of the Algarve saw the introduction of reinforcements on June 1.

Albufeira was the main focus in the region due to a number of serious crimes which were recorded earlier in the year including the death of Ian Haggarth on May 25, the death of Darren Lackie on April 3 and more recently the robbery of seven Irish women at gunpoint in their villa on September 6.

The police response to crime levels appears to have been successful in these areas with crime down by 12% in Albufeira and 8.3% in the municipality of Loulé which includes the popular tourist destination of Vilamoura.

Commandant Francisco Matos de Sousa drew attention to the fact that the areas of Albufeira and Loulé account for 48% of all recorded crime in the Algarve so the decreases in these areas represent a significant overall decrease in the region.

Extra policing has proved to be a success in combating crime in the region and Commandant Francisco Matos de Sousa confirmed that the GNR reinforcements in the Algarve would continue with extra officers remaining on a permanent basis.

The number of GNR officers will therefore rise by 10% from 1,200 permanent officers to 1,319 with a “significant proportion” of these officers being deployed to the Albufeira area from November.

The rest of the officers will be based in Loulé, Silves and Lagoa with others being in border areas of the region.

“We want to be able to guarantee the protection of businesses and citizens in the area, both those who live here and those who visit as tourists,” said Commandant Francisco Matos de Sousa.

While crime levels are down in Albufeira and Loulé, other municipalities have seen increases, with the highest being in Olhão, where crime was up by 54.8%, and Faro where levels had risen by 24.7%.  The increases were, however, put down to crimes primarily involving the theft of copper and gold, drug trafficking and domestic violence, and were not generally related to violent crimes and those against others.

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]