I have been coming to the Algarve for more than 15 years and have owned a holiday property near Guia for eight years now.
I love the people, the climate and the beaches and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the region. However, I am now wondering whether it is time for a change.
My chief concern are the constant reports in your paper about the break ins, robberies, violent attacks, muggings etc. which I am reading about weekly in your paper. This is not a criticism of your paper, as you are only reporting news, but seems to be indicative of what is happening in the area.
I have had my car broken into twice, both times in the Bougainvillea Plaza in Quinta do Lago, and also my home broken into once. My experience on all three occasions of the police is hardly printable.
I had to go to the police station in Almancil after my car was broken into. Nobody spoke English and I had to get a translator – this in an area that lives and dies by tourists. The police station itself looked as if it belonged in a third world country and, on this particular Saturday night, there were only two policemen on duty at the time in the station.
I then read about the shortage of cars in the police force and the appalling facilities generally and I begin to wonder if it is not time for a move.
I would be sad but my concern is mounting. Action must be taken to protect property (often left empty for weeks at a time) and to protect people.
The police need proper resources and the government must take note of the amount of money we tourists pour into the country and take the necessary measures to reassure us.
NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD
I read your article (edition November 20, 2008) relating to the number of burglaries in the Silves area.
I lived in the surrounding area and have also been robbed. I got home on Monday, October 27, from a brief trip to the UK to find thieves had broken into my home through a downstairs window.
They stole my 32” television, jewellery, mobile phone (sim card had been removed previously). The thieves left the front patio door open approx one inch.
On Friday, October 31 at around 5.20am, someone was outside on the terrace (worse the wear for drink/ drugs) talking on a mobile phone to one or two others who appeared to be 200-300 yards away hiding in the trees.
The intruder kept trying the patio door that the thieves had left open. Obviously they had come back to steal more property and had assumed I would be away for one or two weeks.
The GNR were here within seven minutes. They took the guy away for questioning – however, I was later told that “he was lost”.
When I told them he was trying to get into the house they told me “yes, he was trying to find somewhere warm”!
I have since had grills, electric gates, high walls, etc. put in place. That said, the burglars are still revisiting the property (usually between 5am-6am) while I am in the house.
I have reported the fact that these people keep coming back to the property to the GNR in Messines, who have been very helpful but they also admit they have limited resources.
My property is surrounded by olive trees and orange groves which I suppose gives burglars plenty of places to hide whilst they monitor people’s movements.
I appear to have everything on their ‘wish list’ by living alone, living in the countryside, not being overlooked, and being female.
If someone had told me three years ago when I came to live in the Algarve that I would be living behind bars, and be forced to get dogs, or even a gun, I would never have believed them.
Rosemary E Johnson, by email