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.