Azores Situation Report Wednesday 29th March 2023

Violent and serious crime increases in the Azores in 2022 

Annual Homeland Security Report reports 12 more violent and serious crimes last year. Azores were the only region to lower overall crime.

Violent and serious crime increased in the Azores in 2022, close to 4% compared to 2021, while general crime decreased by 2.6%, being the only region in the country where such a situation occurred.

According to a note on the Government Portal, the Annual Internal Security Report (RASI), released yesterday by the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI), in the Azores there were 232 violent and serious crimes last year, 12 more than in 2021, but with a decrease in crimes of offense to physical integrity, extortion and theft on public roads. At national level, there was a 14.4% increase in violent and serious crimes.

Regarding general crime, while at national level there was an increase of around 14.1%, in the Region there was a drop of 2.6% in 2022, from 9,998 crimes registered in 2021 to 9,738 crimes last year. According to the note from the regional executive, “the result of the reduction of crimes such as defamation, slander and injury, computer fraud, threats and coercion, vehicle theft and driving without a legal license”.

In a press conference after the meeting, the secretary general of the Internal Security System (SSI), Paulo Vizeu Pinheiro, explained that, to analyse the crime registered by the security forces and services in 2022, it is “necessary to have a comparison with 2019”, since 2020 and 2021 were influenced by restrictive measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the secretary general of the SSI, the year 2022 saw an increase in general crime of around 14.1%, with 42,451 more reports registered compared to 2021, while compared to 2019 there was an increase of 2.5 %.

Regarding violent and serious crime, last year there was an increase of 14.4% compared to 2021 but compared to 2019 there was a decrease of 7.8%.

“In comparative post- and pre-pandemic terms, the trend towards serious and violent crimes is still on a downward curve”, said Paulo Vizeu Pinheiro, considering that “it is important to maintain levels of vigilance and avoid complacency”.

Restoration in the Azores hopes to recover pre-pandemic levels at Easter. 

The restoration in the Azores admitted to recovering the levels prior to the covid-19 pandemic, revealing that in the first three months of the year a “much more reduced” seasonality was notorious and the expectations for Easter “are also very good”.

“The prospects are good; the accommodation is at a good occupancy rate. And everything indicates that catering and the like will also be in greater demand. We believe in matching the pre-pandemic numbers of 2019”, said the president of the Azorean delegation of Portuguese Hotel, Restaurant and Similar Association (AHRESP).

Cláudia Chaves claims that in the first quarter of the year, “a much-reduced seasonality” was noted with “tourists of practically all nationalities”.

“We have had a lot of movement of people and, at Easter, an increase in visitors and also residents in the Azores is expected”, said the president of the delegation in the Azores of the Associação da Hotelaria, Restauração e Similares de Portugal.

According to the businesswoman, “some movement” of tourists of “various nationalities from Europe” and Canada is beginning to be noticeable.

“This is a concern that our associates have transmitted to us”, maintained Cláudia Chaves, referring that the problem is more serious in the summer.

According to the person in charge, there is a “great difficulty in having people available in the catering and similar areas”.

“We have already noticed a large tourist flow and the concern is how will it be in the summer?”, he questioned, emphasizing that “the lack of manpower” has been “the great Achilles heel” of the sector.

Cláudia Chaves insisted that the solution could involve the use of “foreign labour, which could be an added value” to fill the lack of workers during the high season.