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Femicides and other gender-based crimes soared in Sonora in 2021

Murderrates hit record highs in Sonora last year. So did crimes against women, with soaring numbers of femicides, rapes and other abuse reported in the state, and across the country.

A record-setting 140 women were murdered in Sonora last year — 60% more than in 2020, according to federal data. Of those, 45% were designated as femicides, or the killing of a woman because of her gender. That’s a more than 40% increase over 2020, and 10% higher than the previous record set in 2019.

And femicides are just one of several gender-based crimes with soaring numbers of victims in Sonora, said Krimilda Bernal, who heads the Observatorio Sonora por la Seguridad, a local group that monitors security policy.

She said sexual violence has been on the rise in both Sonora and nationwide in recent years. Particularly amid the pandemic.

In Sonora, cases of rape increased more than 36% in 2021, from 259 to 353. Reports of domestic violence were also up 33% in 2021.

Numbers nationwide were similarly high.

There were 1,004 femicides reported in Mexico in 2021, pushing the figure over 1,000 for the first time on record.

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Kendal Blust, an Arizona native, reports from KJZZ’s bureau in Hermosillo, Sonora, focusing on business and economic relationships between Arizona and northern Mexico.Prior to joining KJZZ, Kendal worked at the Nogales International, reporting on border and immigration issues, local government, education and business. While working on her master’s degree at University of Arizona School of Journalism, she did stints with the Arizona Daily Star and the Tico Times in Costa Rica, and completed a thesis project about women art activists in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.In her pre-journalist life, Kendal was a teacher, first helping Spanish high school students learn English, then heading to Tucson to teach fourth grade.When she’s not in the newsroom, Kendal enjoys getting outside for a hike or a swim, catching a good movie, hanging out with family and friends, and eating great food.