Last week the Security Coordination Bureau (GCS) indicated that overall and violent crime in 2016 has decreased by 6.5 percent and 10.5 percent respectively. With the exception of 2015, where overall crime increased by 1.3%, this continues with the downward trend starting in 2008.

These provisional figures reflect reported crime up until the third quarter of 2016 and published in a report analysing crime in Portugal..

According to the report, which was covered in depth by newspaper Diário de Notícias (DN), common crimes that such as street robberies and car thefts have decreased. This, the police chiefs said, could in large part be due to a greater police presence on the streets, heavier armed and better equipped forces, police reinforcements in critical areas, and a greater crime prevention awareness by people.

DN reports that with prisons currently being overloaded with more violent criminals, police are now facing new trends in crime, which no longer take place on streets, but rather online. This is evidenced by extortion, mostly committed over the internet, and IT scams grew significantly, by 70 percent and 20 percent respectively.

Extortion, particularly sexual bribery, or sextortion, as it has become known, and IT crimes such as illegally accessing bank details, sabotage and swindling, have both risen markedly, as have cases of blackmail.

“Internet crime requires lots of specific research due to its trans-nationality and the great difficulty of collecting evidence”, stressed the head of the PJ police’s cybercrime department, which was created in 2012 to tackle the growing crimes.