Earlier this week, on Tuesday night, in Braga, several cars were the target of acts of vandalism. The damage, recorded in photographs sent to PÚBLICO by citizen Mário Relvas, show the damaged rear-view mirrors of vehicles parked on Rua Albano Belino, one of the perpendicular streets to Braga Parque, the city’s largest shopping centre.
Contacted by PÚBLICO, a source from the Braga Public Security Police (PSP) confirms the reports of several cars damaged in the area, but says that it only received “two complaints regarding damage to two cars”, and that they are already “under investigation”. ”.
In the complaint that accompanies the photographs, Mário Relvas says that the situation is “becoming unbearable” and that acts of vandalism “have occurred in more areas of the city, with some frequency”. However, the PSP guarantees that no more cases have been reported in recent days. The citizen complains about the lack of policing in the area by the PSP and Braga Municipal Police, and guarantees that “there is no prevention, only reaction, sometimes late”.
Ricardo Silva, president of the parish council of São Victor, where the damage to the cars took place, admits the existence of damage to the vehicles and recalls that the area surrounding Braga Parque has been the scene of other acts of vandalism: last September, several shopping carts, brought from inside the shopping center, were left abandoned on the public road. He recognizes that there is “a crisis of conscience about how to use public space” and that there are other crimes, committed in different areas of the parish, that “deserve attention”, such as “abusive parking at the entrance of houses, on top of sidewalks, which create obstacles for wheelchairs to cross” or the occurrence of “small thefts and drug trafficking”, today “more visible during the day”.
Although he denies the idea that the “parish is insecure”, Ricardo Silva assumes, in the dialogue established with the security forces, that there is an understanding that “there is a lack of human resources” to ensure more effective patrolling. And he warns that “more vigilant action” is needed on the part of “entities that manage the public space”, such as the parish council and the City Council itself. “These problems are signs of the times and we have to give a more appropriate type of response, which encompasses a common strategy between the various administrative, security and civilian forces. It is necessary to strengthen the defense mechanisms of the population”. On the parish side, he assures, the role will be more and more that of “mediating the dialogue between the population and the security forces”.
On the side of the City Council, the councilor in charge of the Municipal Police, Olga Pereira, contacted by PÚBLICO, says she is unaware of the occurrences, recalling that the “criminal competence is exclusive to the Public Security Police”, guaranteeing that the municipality “has not received complaints for acts of vandalism”.