Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Government issues statement on crime control in tourist areas of the Algarve

 Portugal's Ministry of Internal Administration says the forces of law and order are paying full attention to security in the Algarve and particularly in its most popular beach resort of Albufeira.

In a statement issued yesterday, the ministry says all reasonable measures are being taken to prevent and fight crime. It also points out that crime rates in this country are among the lowest in the EU and that crime in the Algarve region is decreasing.

The statement comes in the wake of alleged attacks on three holidaymakers, two fatal. Police are continuing to investigate the incidents in the Montechoro area of Albufeira. A gang of youths is suspected of involvement.

The internal affairs ministry says there was a slight decrease in crime in general and violent crime in particular in 2010 compared with the previous year. The drop has been much more marked in the first quarter of this year. Serious and violent crime was down 21.7%, and the number of robberies dropped by 20%. In the Albufeira municipality, there were 21.5% fewer violent crimes in 2010 than in 2009 and 9.7% fewer in the first quarter of this year.

Two thousand new police officers are being groomed for the various forces, a new security arrangement now links private home alarm systems to police stations and tighter border controls are in place. The statement emphasises that police presence, visibility and operational activity is being stepped up in popular tourist areas of the Algarve.

Meanwhile, police investigations continue into the death last month of a Scottish soldier, Darren Lackie, 22, and the stabbing of a holidaymaker from Dublin, David Hoban, 44. Police are also investigating the death of a tourist from the northeast of England, Ian Haggath, 50, who was brutally attacked a fortnight ago and has since died.

A spokesman for Britain's foreign office said yesterday it had made "a very minor" change to its travel advice to alert holidaymakers about street crime in the Algarve.

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