It's really not nice to write about something unpleasant, but unpleasant things do happen, even in the Algarve. But when something nasty does happen, and happens to people we know, it makes it all that much worse.
Friends of ours from the UK have been holidaying here for two weeks now. They brought with them the extended family, so seven of them in total have been staying in a very nice three bedroomed villa at Areias dos Moinhos in Carvoeiro.
Last night they were burgled. Cameras, MP3 players, baby clothes and cash. The thieves tried to remove the safe but failed. The police informed our friends that this was the second burglary of the villa in just over two weeks, although the managing agent denied this. The agent then went on to accuse our friends of encouraging the intruders by not locking up properly, an accusation which they strongly deny. Works to improve the security were ordered today, with commencement one day prior to our friends' departure.
There are some things about the incident that really annoy me. Not so much the burglary, because even though I consider the Algarve to be the safest place I have ever lived, crimes do sadly occur, and due to the transient nature of many of the residents, these crimes affect people least likely to be able to cope with the trauma - and the police - themselves.
The villa my friends occupied rents for £1300 per week. When we visited them last weekend my wife got locked in one of the bathrooms because there was no knob on the inside of the door. This lack of knob had been reported to the agents, but had not been repaired. The villa had been previously burgled but improved security was only put in place after the second burglary. The agents tried to shift the blame for their own lack of action onto the clients.
This is unacceptable behavior on the part of the agents. It it were my villa I would fire them immediately. And if I were paying £1300 per week I would expect the owners to ensure the agents were acting for the clients in an emergency such as this, not against them.
In my opinion, there are only two fundamental rules which apply in a case such as this -
Rule 1 - The client/customer (ie, the PAYING guest) is always right.
Rule 2 - In case the client is wrong, Rule 1 applies.
Crime is at times inescapable, but there should never be a reason to compound the crime with shoddy management practices.