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In wake of brutal murders, Sonora authorities tout femicide conviction rate

This week, Sonoran officials held a press conference to highlight their achievements in addressing gender violence — including what they say is a high rate of convictions in femicide cases. But many don’t think that’s enough.

In the wake of a string of disappearances and brutal killings of young women in Sonora, officials say they’re responding to the crisis. State Attorney General Claudia Indira Contreras said during a press conference this week that since 2013, the state has convicted some 200 people for committing femicide. And in the past five years, the state has won convictions in 98 percent of femicide cases.

"However, that hasn't been enough," she said.

That's because the the number of women and girls being killed or going missing the state continues to soar, with 56 women murdered in just the first five months of this year and several more shocking killings just this week.

Local feminist and security groups are also unsatisfied with government actions. The nonprofit Sonoran Security Observatory on Friday published a statement condemning the government’s strategy of addressing violence by relying on the military.

Activists have repeatedly said more needs to be done to protect women and girls before they are killed or disappear, including a more robust response to other gender-based crimes, including domestic and partner violence, which many feel are not taken seriously enough in a state that has for years seen national highs in domestic violence rates.

State security officials have said they are providing additional resources for women, and that police have been trained to handle gender-based crimes. But recent data show that crimes against women and girls are continuing to rise.

Kendal Blust was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.