Crime and Punishment (in Portugal)

on 10:34 pm

I have to admit; I have been living in Portugal for a few years now and have yet to been victim of a crime. Not much of a compliment though, as I had lived 22 years in Canada and was never the victim of a crime there either.

Not your everyday crime, though in his defense, the donkey was a looker.
That is not to say that crime doesn’t exist here in Portugal. As you might have noticed, summers have been marked by a gang crime wave, which involves large groups of youths, wreaking havoc on commuter train lines. Robbing gasoline stations and jewelry stores, attacks on nightclubs, and a rise of violent crime related with local and international organized crime has been on the rise as well. Linked with the economic development of the country is an increase in white-collar crimes, as seen in recent cases such as Face Oculta, Apito Dourado, and Freeport. These are also the far more difficult cases to try to conclusion, due to the political and monetary interests at stake.

Sensational, patently false headline? - the Portuguese equivalent of The Sun
Nonetheless, Portugal is still a comparatively peaceful country, coming in 17th place in the Global Peace Index, with the most common crimes being petty theft and robbery, mainly in locations frequented by tourists. Common-sense is the main guideline here, such as not leaving valuables in plain sight in parked cars, keeping an eye on your wallet or bag in crowds, not withdrawing money from out of the way ATMs at night. In the event that the police are needed, call 112 from a public phone or 00351 112 from a cell phone.

In response to the backlog of criminal cases sitting in court, the government has proposed changes to current legislation to streamline the entire criminal process, such as expanding the applicability of summary judgments.

FYI Portugal was one of the first countries to abolish the death penalty, and the maximum prison sentences is 25 years, though parole is available after half time served, on good behavior.

Some useful links: - Portuguese Victim Support Association - Child Support Institute - Commission for Equality and Women's Rights - Domestic violence - Association of Women against Violence  - Ministry of Justice – Case law database – Directorate-General for the Administration of Justice (provides, among other things, information on contact details for the courts and their territorial jurisdiction) - Bar Association - Online database of legislation (contains legislation published in Series I of the Official Gazette since 1962) - National Republican Guard - Police - Criminal Investigation Police


João said...

A couple of years ago Lisbon had the safest city in Europe with only 10% of the populations have been the victims of some sort of crime. Here's where I got this info. from:

Gabriel said...

Yup, until 2008 Portugal was a safer place to live than Canada, and even now there's little separating the two.

Portugal is up there overall, and Lisbon is one of the safest European capitals. Sure it has its dodgy places, but what city doesn't?

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