More than 40,000 stray dogs and cats were collected in 2017 by municipal services in mainland Portugal and the Azores, according to data released by the Directorate General of Food and Veterinary Affairs (DGAV).
The data, published on the DGAV portal, refers to the annual report on animals in the Official Collection Centers, provided for in legislation in force since September.
According to the report, requested by the PAN party – People, Animals and Nature, 40,674 dogs and cats were collected in 2017, most in the North region (14,531).
According to statistics, which do not include information on the Autonomous Region of Madeira, 16,144 animals were adopted, 11,819 euthanized, 8,873 sterilized and 98,266 vaccinated (the latter figures include animals collected and vaccinated in the centres and those vaccinated on the continent in the official campaign against rage).
The North region leads the list of the largest number of adopted animals (4,834), euthanized (5,090) and vaccinated (41,257).
But, compared to regions with fewer dogs and cats collected, the North is the region that sterilized fewer animals (522).
Alentejo and Algarve were the regions with the least adopted animals, respectively 649 and 780.
The law, in force since September, provides for measures to establish a network of official collection centres for animals and prohibits slaughter for population control.
The Official Collection Centres have one year from the date of entry into force of the legislation to apply “the technical conditions for carrying out the sterilization in accordance with the legal and regulatory provisions”.
The Higher Council for Homeland Security, which met in Lisbon, reviewed the Annual Homeland Security Report (RASI) for 2017, which will be presented to the Assembly of the Republic.
In a statement at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, pointed out “the consolidation of a downward trend” in violent and serious crime, which fell by 8.7%, “which has been taking place in the last decade”.
Total crime for 2017 stood at 341,950 reported cases compared with 330,872 in 2016 and increase of 3.3%
The Minister pointed out that, in recent years, Portugal has consistently been considered in several international assessments as “one of the safest countries in the world”.
“The evolution in the area of internal security is decisive for the quality of life, but also the evolution of the Portuguese economy”, through investment and tourism, he added.
The Minister pointed out reductions in robberies in residences (-14%), motor vehicles (-11%) and schools (-6.4%), group crime (- 8.8%), robberies on the public highway and by snatching in public transport.
The Report saw an overall crime increase of 3.3% in 2017 compared to 2016 due to the increase in counterfeit, forest fires and scams crimes.
The Minister pointed out that the crime that grew the most during the past year was that of counterfeit money “for purely statistical reasons”, since the Judicial Police “registered in 2017 a series of proceedings relating to several years”, which of 246%, which does not correspond to any generalized phenomenon of growth of circulation of counterfeit currency in the country.
Another crime “with significant growth” was the forest fires, which increased more than 27%, and Eduardo Cabrita attributed the increase to the dramatic situation of the fires of 2017.
This increase corresponds to the ‘intensification of the performance of security forces and services relatively’ in the search of the forest fires, which has led to the detention of more than three dozen people.
The Minister also mentioned the increase in the crime of fraud, particularly in the sale or renting of dwellings, especially through the Internet.
Eduardo Cabrita also pointed out that until October 2017 there was a “just concern” about the robberies of ATMs, which increased by 73% compared to 2016, and the measures adopted led to “a significant reduction” of these robberies in November and December of 2017 and in the first months of 2018.
More 1575 people arrested than in 2016 for drug trafficking
In 2017, police detained a total of 7256 people, an increase of 24% over the previous year. More than 1,100 are foreigners, according to the Annual Homeland Security Report. Hashish is the drug that leads to more arrests. Among the detainees, indicates the RASI, the majority, 5625, are over 21 years old, with 1681 being under this age. The report does not clarify whether this total of 7256 detainees refers to different individuals or there are cases of arrests of the same person at different times of the year.
Last year there were 408 rapes, 73 more than a year earlier. This increase of 21.8% was accompanied by a rise in the number of detainees, from 45 people in 2016 to 53 a year later. All detainees are men.
In total, last year, fewer than 174 cases of violence were committed in a marital context than in 2016. A decrease of 0.8%, which resulted in 32,291 victims. Among them, the percentage of men (21% of victims) increased.
For this crime, 703 suspects were detained – 27 fewer than in 2016 and more than 3,000 suspects in 2009. However, over more than 20 thousand of the 29,711 open investigations, were closed and there were prosecutions in 4465 cases.
Among the crimes that the General Secretariat of the Internal Security System, responsible for the report, considers violent and serious, were that of rape which was was among the few that registered an increase. In the cases of violent crime these fell by nearly 9%; namely 15,303 cases 1458 less than in 2016.
The fall was mainly due to a decline in extortion (-28.3%) and robbery, which declined both in public transport (-27.5%) and in commercial or industrial buildings ( -21.5%) and on public roads (-9.9%).
On the contrary, serious personal injury offenses increased by 12.1%. This is defined as those cases where there is the intention to seriously and permanently disfigure the other or put the person in danger of life.
Air piracy and other crimes against the security of civil aviation – which went from 25 cases in 2016 to 45 last year – and robberies at pharmacies also increased.
Fewer detainees for sexual abuse of minors
Among sexual offenses, in cases of child abuse there were 101 in 2017, 21 fewer than a year earlier. Also the number of cases participated decreased 42 fewer than in 2016.
About 67% of inquiries into sex crimes initiated by the Judiciary Police concern minors. These crimes include child sexual abuse (which represents 42.6 per cent of total inquiries), pornography involving minors (14.3 per cent), sexual abuse of a dependent minor, enticement of minors for sexual purposes, acts sex with adolescents, pimping and the use of prostitution.
More Suicides in Prisons
Last year, 15 people committed suicide in prisons, six more than in 2016. This increase in the number of inmates’ suicides takes place after a two-year decline – only in 2014 had there been 22 situations.
Computer crimes rise 21.8%
Computer crime is practiced with the use of computer technology. Last year there were 175 cases of computer crime (from 801 to 976 cases), which corresponds to an increase of 21.8% over 2016.
Among this type of crime was the increase in illegitimate or improper access (21%), computer misuse (16%), computer fraud (16%) and computer sabotage (27%). For these crimes 76 people were accused, nine more than last year.
Moreover, although with a tendency to decrease, it is still the computer and telecommunications scams to lead this championship. There were more than eight thousand cases associated with this type of crime resulting in 367 defendants.
Four confirmed victims of trafficking
Last year only four victims of human trafficking were confirmed in Portugal, a decrease of 96% (in the previous year they had been 118). The total number of suspected victims identified by the authorities also fell by a third, with the vast majority reported for labour exploitation (47), followed by almost half (24) for sexual exploitation. Of note, of the 175 people reported, 45 involved minors – of which 24 are still under investigation. Four were not confirmed.
On the other hand, the number of child pornography crimes (for which 37 people were arrested) decreased by 39%.
Denials of entry into Portugal, rose by 37%, to two thousand people, mostly Brazilian citizens (60%), followed by a much smaller percentage of Angolans (7%).
Authorities are concerned about marriages of convenience: a network operating in Ireland was dismantled and between 2012 and 2017 registered 664 marriages involving Portuguese. Of these, 89% were women, who married mostly Pakistanis (288), Bengalis (129) and Indians (95). The other 11% were Portuguese men who married citizens of Brazil, Mauritius, Nigeria, Venezuela and Pakistan.
The RASI also indicates that there are at least 21 deportations: in addition 354 foreigners were removed from the national territory. And the notifications for voluntary abandonment decreased by 12.1%, to 4810.
As for the attribution of Portuguese nationality, it was granted to 27,362 citizens, 1301 more than the previous year. This was a reflection of the increase from 35,416 to 37,262 applications, the maximum value of the last eight years. Brazil is again at the top of the list, with 10,805 registrations, followed by Cape Verde (3022), Israel (2539), Ukraine (1960) and Angola (1613).
Last year, the authorities detected seven terrorist organizations in Portugal, four of them national. The presence of six international terrorist organizations had been recorded a year before, with no information on how many nationals (only three of them were known to have been held secretly). Continuing that there are no references to Portugal in the messages of the terrorist groups and no indications that point to the preparation of an attack. The authorities continue to classify the terrorist threat in the country as moderate. “However, there is no immunity from current terrorism,” notes RASI, so that Portugal necessarily faces “the potential risks” that fall on other European countries.
The RASI also notes that there is a possibility that the country could be used as a transit platform or logistical support for the recruitment of jihadists.
On 15th March 2018, The Council of Ministers approved a decree-law which determines that notices of mismanagement raised by the non-clearing of land will not take effect until May 31, if by that date the person responsible for the cleaning of land, has NOT undertaken (completed) the work by which they are legally bound. Legally this means fines can still be initiated at any time, but will only be processed and effected if the work has not been undertaken by 31st May 2018.
In meetings held between Safe Communities Portugal and the GNR SEPNA in Lisbon and the Territorial Command Headquarters Faro, the GNR have stated that fining is a last resort as the whole object is to ensure that for safety reasons people do comply. They stressed that “good sense” will prevail, in determining situations when fines are justified, and each situation will be scrutinized carefully at District Headquarters level. If enforcement action does become necessary, however, the Faro District Headquarters (covering the Algarve) have stated it will be undertaken as follows.
Firstly with immediate effect where a complaint has already been made to the GNR from the public about land that is overgrown, the GNR will visit that land. If it is found that the complaint is substantiated), they will, upon location of the owner, verbally inform the owner that he/she will be fined. The GNR will take Identification details, although the owner will not receive any written notification at this stage. Should the land be cleaned by 31st May, however, no further action will be taken.
With effect from 2nd April the GNR will take more pro-active enforcement action focusing mainly in areas where risks to property are higher. If they visit and the owner has already started cleaning work, the owner will be told to finish it within a certain time period typically a week or so. When the GNR subsequently check and find it has not completed the owner will be told that they will be fined and procedure will be undertaken as above. If during such a visit the owner has NOT started land cleaning work where it is needed, the GNR will inform the owner they will be fined. However, if the work is then undertaken by 31st May then no further action will be taken.
Upon the GNR informing owners that a fines will be levied, they also inform councils as well, who can then take over the cleaning of land at cost to the owner.
If owners have been informed that they will be fined, but by 31st May work has not been completed, then they will receive a written notification by post of the fine, with 20 days to pay or appeal.
So, advice is to start cleaning work as soon as possible.
Portugal will strengthen its participation in operations of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) in 2018 through a contingent of more than 500 police and military personnel to combat trafficking in human beings and support refugees.
“The tragedy of refugees and migration is now a central issue in the European challenge” and “Portugal has a very active participation in Frontex, which will be strengthened in 2019, both through the governance area of the Internal Administration and through the Armed Forces” , said the Minister of Internal Administration.
“This is a commitment to participate in solidarity” of the European project, in the areas of border management and coastguard action in maritime areas, said Eduardo Cabrita.
“Portugal is one of the states that contributes the most human resources and technical equipment to the Frontex operations, which take place throughout the year,” said Eduardo Cabrita.
According to official data, the country has increased its participation in the operations of this Agency for two years, with 487 personnel in 2016 and 536 last year. Frontex is a structure related to the security and control of the external borders that the SEF has as a point of contact in Portugal.
The GNR will participate with a total of 113 military personnel, including border surveillance experts, crew members, cinematographic teams, vessel registries and tracking, as well as a coastal surveillance vessel, a surveillance vehicle and a patrol cars in operations in Poland, Greece, Spain, Bulgaria and Italy.
The PSP plans to participate with 49 personnel, 10 dog unit teams and 29 police for registration of immigrants. Their detachments will be in Italy, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Croatia.
SEF will be present in 11 of 13 Frontex joint operations, with a total of 43 inspectors, involving document specialists, interview experts and cross-border crime. They will be deployed in Spain, France, Italy, Holland, Bulgaria, Greece, Poland and Germany.
The Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) has arrested 10 people caught in the act for illegally selling tickets online for U2 concerts in Portugal, and has seized 26 tickets, said the official in a statement.
According to the ASAE, the 10 people were arrested in several parts of the country, for the crime of speculation on the value of official sale of tickets for the concerts.
“Through its National Information and Criminal Investigation Unit, the Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) has been developing, since February, an online ticket monitoring action aimed at combating speculation, through various Internet advertising sites for the concerts of Irish band U2, which will come to Portugal next September, “the ASAE statement said.
The authority added that 26 tickets “with face unit values ranging from € 37 to € 200 were seized, ranging from € 150 to € 400, allowing sellers to obtain profit percentages above 200%”.
According to the statement, the defendants were already present before the court.
The ASAE also warns consumers to avoid buying tickets “above their official value, since this sale constitutes a Crime of Speculation, punishable with imprisonment for up to three years.”
On 14th March 2018 at around 14.40 hrs the PSP Metropolitan Command of Lisbon, through the Division of Criminal Investigation, in the parish of Alvalade, Lisbon, arrested whilst caught in the act a 39 year old man, suspected of committing the crime of robbery.
During surveillance by police in the area it was possible to verify that the suspect approached elderly victims under threat of a weapon and physical force, pushing the victims to the entrance hall of their residence, sand stealing items of value, leaving them, physically and economically weakened.
Following the arrest, steps were taken to locate other victims and carry out searches for the suspect’s residence. Several items of property stolen from other victims, as well as two knives and garments with which he committed the crimes were seized, plus a Pocket knife; a Mobile phone; a Women’s handbag; and € 10.37 in cash.
The suspect is referenced in another 13 crimes of robbery, undertaken using the same MO, in various points of the city of Lisbon, in a short time.
The detainee, with a number of criminal records, was present at the 1st Criminal Investigation Section of the Lisbon Court of First Instance, for the first judicial interrogation, having been applied the most serious measure of Preventive Detention.
The Judicial Police, through the Northern Board of Directors, have identified and detained whilst caught in the act, the alleged suspect of a fire in an apartment, located in Canidelo – Vila Nova de Gaia.
The fire was caused by a lighter, whilst the suspect who is mental imbalanced, had consumed drugs.
During the afternoon of Monday 12th March, the detainee ignited the bed duvet, located in the room of the house, when he was using the lighter and consuming narcotics and with minors present in the house.
As a result of this conduct, both the perpetrator and the minors had to receive medical assistance due to the inhalation of toxic fumes.
The fire affected the dwelling considerably, endangering the other residences in the building and caused damage to the façade of the building.
The 55-year-old detainee, who is not employed, will be present at the competent judicial authorities for first judicial interrogation and enforcement of pre-trial measures considered appropriate
The Judicial Police, through the National Office of Interpol, in conjunction with the National Unit to Combat Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs, today achieved the return to Portugal from Brazil of two wanted persons in furtherance of extradition proceedings initiated by the Portuguese judicial authorities.
One of the 45-year-old returned had been arrested in Natal, Brazil, since March last year, as a result of an international arrest warrant to serve 10 years and 6 months imprisonment. This was served on him by the District Court for trafficking in heroin, cocaine, hashish, ecstasy and possession of prohibited firearms in the year 2000. He has since been taken to a prison for the execution of the sentence.
The other 63-year-old person extradited was earlier detained in Fortaleza, Brazil, where he served 22 years in prison for murder, robbery and kidnapping crimes in that country. It has now been handed over as part of an international arrest warrant for the prosecution as a suspect respect of international crime of cocaine trafficking from South America to Portugal in 1999. He will be presented to the judicial authorities in the Court of the County of Leiria for the first judicial interrogation and application of pre-trial conditions.
On 14th March the Territorial Command of Castelo Branco, through the Territorial Office of Alcains, in that locality, arrested two men in caught in the act of the theft of a motor vehicle.
This arrest was carried out after the patrol had discovered the suspects parking a vehicle which had been reported stolen. They were approached and arrested immediately.
Individuals, aged 19 and 20, are referred to as the perpetrators of at least 30 thefts of vehicles from commercial establishments, carried out in the counties of Castelo Branco and Fundão, since December 2017.
The detainees are currently present at the Judicial Court of Castelo Branco.
The GNR Intervention Unit, through the Mountain Subgroup of Serra da Estrela of the Protection and Relief Intervention Group (GIPS), conducted between February 15 and March 15, a set of exercises, which involved mountain search and rescue operations in extreme weather conditions.
Within the various operational drills, two complex search and rescue exercises were carried out, namely an underwater rescue in icy waters and a complete mountain rescue operation during the Gisela storm. About 50 GIPS military personnel were involved including, underwater operations and first-aid search and rescue specialists.
The operational training was aimed at testing procedures and the ability of specialists to respond in extreme conditions, ensuring greater effectiveness in rescuing and helping citizens in dangerous situations.