There were a number of news items last week about crime and resources, with comments from the Civil Governor.
There is a fundamental problem that the Governor, Isilda Gomes (and others) forget, ignore or, perhaps, are not even aware of; and its costly and important. Resources, more or less, do not automatically equate with success.
Here is just a sample, an attitude one, it represents GNR/PSP etc. Three officers in a city square at 9pm, just talking to each other and smoking.
Two hours later, two are still there! Policing? An officer with an Alsatian growling at tourists at 10am. Image?
Two tourist police perched on their car smoking, tourist interaction/ interest; none. Two walking past cars, not checking tax etc, just talking. Approachable? Efficient?
Albufeira’s president mentions only 22 officers (plus Municipal police) to cover the Paderne area. Sorry Senhor President, in the UK, the same size area would be lucky to be covered by 1-2 officers at any one time.
BUT there is a difference. They are trained, aware, motivated and, normally, efficient. They deliver, which is the single important point. They also smile, are normally approachable, friendly.
Regretfully, for all of us and our image, that is not so here, especially on our roads where there is no proper policing whatsoever.
Until this problems is addressed and solved there will be no improvement, whatever resources are wasted on it.
The civil governor probably does not read this paper, is not interested, only in the party line. A great pity and not in the Algarve’s interests.
My wife and her friends stayed in an apartment for a week’s holiday last year in Vilamoura and the property was broken into twice.
They reported the first one to the GNR/ police and the response and support they received was almost nonexistent.
They didn’t bother to report the second burglary and theft, they just came home.
Before they left, they spoke with a local Portuguese lady living nearby and she said she knew of five other similar incidents in that area in the previous month.
On the second of the two burglaries, my wife and her friends came back to the house and found tea towels laid out on the kitchen draining board apparently to reduce noise.
The thieves were organised so much so that my wife thought they had keys as there were no signs of forced entry.
But still the police didn’t want to know. I think maybe that is why the crime figures don’t look so bad, half don’t get reported to the police and when my wife reported the first crime nothing was written down at the police station, so it obviously won’t appear on any statistics if no details are taken.
When my wife was at the airport coming home, she spoke with a couple from Ireland and they had been broken into twice in their fortnight’s stay. They, too, were going home early. We have been holidaying in Vilamoura for 15 years but it doesn’t actually feel safe anymore.
This is a growing problem but the police seem to have either no interest or insufficient training to deal with it.
We certainly won’t be holidaying there for a while, which is a shame because the Algarve has such a lot to offer.
The people are great but word is spreading especially among golfers who feel that not even walking around in groups is safe especially at night. Things need to be seen to be getting done for people to return.
Let’s hope someone will stand up and at least admit the problem and then deal with it.
I am an American and travel extensively in Europe. I used to spend two months of the year in Algarve.
I think the Portuguese have a reputation for being soft on crime. It’s unfortunate, but the Portugal of today is not the Portugal I knew years ago, and in the other countries (Germany, Austria) I don’t find myself looking over my shoulder as much as I do in Portugal.