/ Modified jan 22, 2020 9:36 a.m.

Last year was Mexico’s most violent; Sonora saw biggest jump in murder

The northern Mexican state stood out with the largest year-to-year increase in registered murder victims.

Mexico had a record-setting number of murders last year. And Sonora, the Mexican state to Arizona’s south, saw a particularly grisly jump in homicide.

With 34,582 murder victims registered in 2019, last year now has the tragic distinction of being the country’s most violent since such data have been released by federal authorities.

Last year did see the smallest annual increase in murders since 2015 — just 2.5%. But among Mexican states, Sonora had the largest year-to-year jump — a nearly 60% rise from 857 to 1,356 murder victims — according to federal data analyzed by KJZZ.

Those figures do not include femicides, a crime which the federal government defines as “taking a woman’s life for reasons of gender.”

There were 1,006 victims of that crime in 2019, the highest figure since 2015 and a roughly 10% jump over 2018.

“We believe that a determining factor ... is basically impunity, that is to say how many of these cases are resolved,” said Manuel Emilio Hoyos, the head of the organization Sonoran Observatory for Security, says that high rates of impunity for murder are a key factor behind those figures in the state.

The Mexican group Impunidad Cero — or Zero Impunity — found that in Sonora nearly 80% of murder cases do not result in conviction.

Fronteras Desk
Fronteras Desk is a KJZZ project covering important stories in an expanse stretching from Northern Arizona deep into northwestern Mexico.
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