When nightlife and locals cohabit there is «a difficult equation to solve»

The Ribeirinho District, in Baixa de Faro, is, in the eyes of PSP, «a challenge» that is «at the top of concerns» so that people can live there in harmony

Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação

There are houses where the elderly live, others where families grow up, some that have been restored to receive tourists and others that serve as shelters for nightlife. In the riverside neighborhood, in Baixa de Faro, live together with residents, bars and clubs that, for the most part, open their doors when those who work during the day prepare to close them.

If, a few decades ago, this neighborhood was almost abandoned, in recent years many have decided to invest in this area of ​​the Algarve capital, not knowing that the walls they had just restored could be about to serve as a mural for acts of vandalism. .

João (fictitious name of a resident who requested anonymity) speaks of «a more degraded life in the neighborhood, which is not in line with the healthy daily life of those who want to start a family».

These are situations that intensify at night, when «many of the restrictions are overcome» by nightlife establishments, «whether in terms of opening hours or in terms of the decibel level the music must be at», or when the lack of security increases.

João believes that «the simple fact that the PSP is out there and prosecutes when necessary would already be a big step for people to realize what they cannot do» and «think twice before acting illegally».

With the aim of demanding changes that they deem necessary, so that there is quality of life in this neighborhood of Faro, the Bairro Ribeirinho Association was created in July of this year, which already includes dozens of residents of this area, which is made up of around 25 streets and 430 residents.

In addition to complaints related to the noise inherent in the nightlife, there are those related to lack of safety and hygiene, vandalism and crime which, as many of the residents defend, can only be overcome with the joint work of several entities: City Council, Police of Public Security, Fagar, responsible for areas of economic activity, among others.


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


“I don't want to close the door on anyone, I just ask that we manage to work in harmony with each other and in accordance with the law. People do not need to be afraid of the association because it is an added value, for all of us to work together», emphasizes the resident with whom the Sul Informação said.

João also complains about the lack of patrolling by the PSP. «If a while ago you could see teams doing policing in the neighbourhood, nowadays you don't see them, neither day nor night. It is very sporadic and I think that their presence alone makes the difference».

Our newspaper went looking for answers from the Public Security Police, which stresses that this area of ​​Baixa de Faro represents «a challenge» that is «at the top of concerns».

«It is an area that concentrates, in the same place, a very intense night activity with a resident population and we are alert to the problems that arise from this: consumption of alcohol, drugs and noise», began by referring to superintendent Dário Prates, district commander of the Public Security Police, in a interview ao Sul Informação.

As for patrolling, and complaints about the lack of it, Dário Prates guarantees that this work is done by the agents.

«We have, at the moment, implemented a directive on policing of visibility, which intends to place policemen, visible, in the hours and places where there are a greater number of people, at night, and especially during the weekends. What sometimes may not seem like it is that the police do not go to zone x and y, but patrolling is carried out», he stressed.

The solution, according to the commander, is to carry out inspections using the appropriate technological means, for the Chamber to be able to play its role as an administrative entity, for bar owners to pay attention to the need to promote the anti-noise systems required by law and for the population to also do your part.

«It's everyone's responsibility», he stresses, stressing that residents have done their part by reporting complaints.


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


When the Sul Informação spoke with the commander of the PSP, the police were checking all the occurrences mentioned by the residents, comparing them with the records and seeing what consequences they had, and then meeting with a group of inhabitants of that place.

Also on the 8th of November, the Associação Bairro Ribeirinho was received at the Municipality of Faro by councilor Adriano Guerra and by the heads of the Inspection and Offenses, Legal and Litigation and Environment, Energy and Mobility Advisory divisions.

In a meeting lasting more than an hour, all the concerns and problems of the associates were presented, with the aim not only of «complaining about the negative things», but also to highlight the will to «elevate and defend the heritage of the neighborhood, in which includes its architecture, history, culture and its population».

One of the big demands is the placement of video surveillance cameras in this area: a project that has already been approved, but which is not yet in practice.

«Last year, we launched a competition to install video surveillance in that and other areas of the city, particularly in Baixa. That tender was deserted, we are going to launch another one again in January and I hope that, next year, we can have the video surveillance up and running», revealed Rogério Bacalhau, mayor of Faro, to Sul Informação, stating that he only sees positive aspects in the implementation of this measure, which includes the placement of 60 cameras (an investment of around half a million euros).


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


Commander Dário Prates also explains that the existence of video surveillance cameras will make it possible to “monitor situations and public roads of greater risk, where there is more crime, and on a permanent basis”. Furthermore, «the fact that people know that there are cameras there has a preventive effect on deviant behaviour», considers the PSP superintendent, who will be responsible for viewing and controlling the images.

After a study with the security forces, residents and operators, participation in a public discussion is still being analysed, on the basis of which the approval of a new timetable for commercial establishments will be proposed to the Municipal Assembly.

«We are going to restrict the closure of establishments in that area a little - during the week everything is supposed to close at 3 am (an hour earlier than it is now), with longer hours on the eve of weekends and holidays», reveals Rogério Cod.

The mayor considers that these restrictions «do not solve the problems», but it is necessary «to strike a balance between commercial and economic activity and the population in that area».

«It is a difficult equation to solve. We cannot put an end to economic activity and nightlife, which today is a very strong brand of Faro, but we also have to give quality of life to residents», he continues.

O Sul Informação tried to get in touch with the owner of several nightlife venues in that area, to find out what the businessmen's position was in the face of complaints and possible changes proposed by the Chamber of Deputies. Faro, but the businessman preferred not to speak until there is a conclusion on the part of the municipality.


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


For residents, the planned changes are positive. Some of the establishments «do not want them to materialize», says Rogério Bacalhau.

Even so, according to the mayor, there are businessmen making "an effort" to implement measures so that noise does not pass outside.

«These are large investments, but that alone is not enough, because it is not just establishments that cause noise. People gather in the streets, drink and socialize and this causes a noise that has nothing to do with commercial establishments».

At night, noise, fear of lack of security and vandalism. By day, the marks and smell of what happened in those streets hours before and the dirt left by those who don't live there.

In some streets of the riverside neighborhood, few walls survive intact, the perception of dirt is greater than that of cleanliness and there are areas in need of requalification, namely sidewalks and sidewalks.


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


As for these aspects, the mayor says that there is also an architecture office designing the requalification of that entire area. «We are going to change the pavements, the lighting and give a more comfortable look to all those streets that are there. This project should be ready at the beginning of next year so that we can implement it afterwards». Rogério Bacalhau believes that «if the streets are reclassified, cleaning will also be easier».

Browse the page Ribeirinho Neighborhood Facebook is also to find dozens of complaints related to hygiene.

Garbage buckets surrounded by bags that no longer fit inside, mattresses with blood, vomit and hundreds of waste scattered across the street. Regarding this aspect, Rogério Bacalhau says that Fagar «has made a great effort» and that «there are day and night teams that do this cleaning».

«We have this service and we do it periodically. We don't wash the streets every day, we wash twice a week, but everyone has to collaborate here».

However, those who pass through this neighborhood on a daily basis do not have this perception.

Ao Sul Informação, one of the residents of Bairro Ribeirinho stresses that «at the moment, there are people who have acquired old and historic buildings, who have made a brutal investment and are wanting to leave the area, because they do not feel protection from the side of the Chamber, nor from the PSP».


The facade of the luxury condominium Comprimisso 25. Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


«This push game does not bring any added value either to the neighborhood or to the city», he stresses, stressing that «no one is against bars». «We just want the excellence of the neighborhood and that the rules are complied with», says João.

Bruno Lage, president of the União das Freguesias de Faro (Sé and São Pedro), with whom the Sul Informação also spoke, he was satisfied with the creation of this association which, he considers, «will facilitate the work of decision-making bodies».

«These associations are relatively new in our country, but in other European countries there are many. We are talking about groups of people who are more assertive and who more objectively point out some problems that are occurring in a certain neighborhood. It is the issue of citizenship and public participation that comes to the fore and this is always to be commended, because it is the result of a more developed and more contemporary society", he says.

In relation to the problems pointed out by residents, Bruno Lage says that, often, «the night establishments comply with the rules, which is not always the case with those who frequent them». «We are also talking about a lack of civility on the part of the population, which should not be a reality».

In this sense, the president of the Board believes that the implementation of the video surveillance system will help to solve certain problems that "have been talked about for decades".

If there were times when degradation and abandonment was the most present reality in this Baixa de Faro, in recent years there has been a progressive renaissance that residents want to define the identity of that area.

«We only want the excellence of the neighbourhood», emphasizes one of the members of the Residents' Association.

«This is a neighborhood full of potential and ability to also attract artists, families, people looking for a quality of life that I believe can be had here, as long as the rules are followed and inspections are carried out», he concludes.


O Sul Informação photographed some of the streets of Bairro Ribeirinho at different times and days of the week and shows what he found.

Photos: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação