Bloomberg News

Portugal to Pass Security Laws as Crime Rises Amid Austerity

December 20, 2011

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Portugal’s government is set to propose laws to make streets safer amid an increase in crime during the country’s year-long recession, Justice Minister Paula Teixeira da Cruz said.

The government will soon propose legislation to bolster cooperation between different police forces, Teixeira da Cruz said today after meeting with the heads of civil and military police in Lisbon. Last week, unidentified attackers torched two highway toll booths and shot an employee after the government introduced fares on four highways as part of austerity measures agreed on in exchange a 78 billion-euro ($102 billion) bailout.

“The Portuguese should remain calm,” Teixeira da Cruz said in comments broadcast on SIC Noticias television station. “There will be a series of administrative and legislative measures in the future to better coordinate the already exceptional work carried out by our security forces.”

Portugal has seen a 30 percent increase in theft and violent crime is up 5 percent this year, according to the Observatory for Security, Organized Crime and Terrorism, a Lisbon-based non-governmental organization also known as OSCOT. Protests against the austerity measures, including a Nov. 24 general strike, have so far not been violent.

“There is a direct link between the pain caused by the austerity measures and the increase in crime,” OSCOT chief Jose Manuel Anes said by phone.

--Editors: Jeffrey Donovan, Eddie Buckle

To contact the reporter on this story: Henrique Almeida in Lisbon at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at

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