Violent and serious crime figures in Portugal fell 11 percent in 2016, compared with the year before, while the number of cases of domestic violence being reported went up.
Fresh figures from the Home Affairs Ministry, announced this week, show that the crimes that fell the most were petty crimes such as pick-pocketing/bag-snatching (down 21 percent), and common crimes such as muggings (down 7.6 percent), burglaries (down 9.6 percent) and thefts from vehicles (down 5.8 percent).
Home Affairs Minister Constança Urbano de Sousa did say, on the other hand, that reports of domestic violence had gone up by 1.7 percent, but stressed it was unclear whether this was due to more crimes, or more victims coming forward.
Portugal has, according to the Ministry, “never been a very crime-afflicted country, though there are petty crimes here like everywhere else.”
Some crimes are also typically Portuguese, and others almost unheard of.
According to the Ministry, gender violence is still a major cause of concern, with many women being killed or severely injured by their husbands or companions every year despite ongoing high profile campaigns.
Crimes against children, apart from a handful of abuse cases involving homes for orphans and the church, are relatively rare.
Missing children cases are almost completely unheard of as a Portuguese crime, the Ministry added, and the national database has only a few registered cases besides the high-profile Madeleine McCann case.
Meanwhile, the government has this week announced it will spend €7.6 million on personal protection equipment for the country’s police and immigration forces over the next four years.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is to purchase, between 2017 and 2021, almost 4,000 new bullet vests, over 8,400 guns and around 2,000 new vehicles for the PSP and GNR police forces and for the SEF immigration authority.
According to the Ministry, in the region of 7.6 million is to be spent on individual protection equipment for officers, which will also include truncheons, helmets and shields.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has an allocated €90 million to spend per year, on infrastructures and equipment for its forces, between now and 2021.
In related news, more than two dozen elderly people are victims of attacks each month.
So far this year an SOS helpline named the ‘SOS Elderly Persons’ Service’, set up to provide support to the aged, has taken 57 complaints from elderly people who have suffered some form of abuse or aggression.
Last year, of the 152 cases registered via the helpline, 61 incidents involved the complainants’ own children.
The majority of the victims are women, and aged between 79 and 84. Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto are where most complaints are made. Most cases of abuse against elderly people take place within a family environment.