EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A city infamous for its legacy of feminicides in the mid-1990s and early 2000s on Monday inaugurated a building where police officers and prosecutors will investigate crimes against women.
The new $3.5 million Fiscalia Especializada de la Mujer (FEM) building in the Salvacar neighborhood of east Juarez will house eight detectives and 15 prosecutors already trying to clear a backlog of more than 200 cases.
“We reaffirm our commitment to procuring justice for women and eradicating gender-based violence,” Chihuahua Gov. Javier Corral said at the inauguration. “Violence against women is an issue that has been minimized in the past and seldom addressed, that is why we felt obligated to address it in an integral manner and at its root causes.”
High-profile reports by Amnesty International, the Northern Border College and others found a pattern of gender-based violence and sexual abuse in many of the 400 or so killings of women in Juarez between 1993 and 2005. Authorities traced those earlier crimes to alleged serial killers like Abdel Latif Sharif, street gangs like “Los Rebeldes” and to members of drug trafficking organizations, among others.
But for all the press the femicides have garnered in the past, the fact is that more women than ever are being murdered in Juarez. The city has recorded 491 homicides where women were the victims in the past three years alone.
Corral said the Crime Against Women unit operating out of the building was created in consultation with social services and women’s groups.
The Crimes Against Women unit investigated 172 women’s murders in 2019, a total of 192 in 2020 and 127 so far this year, including 19 just in the month of August. The total homicide count in Juarez reached 1,497 in 2019, then 1,646 in 2020 and is hovering around 1,000 right now.
The state two weeks ago issued a “gender violence alert” because of the homicides and other spikes in violence affecting women..
The latest killing of a woman in Juarez took place on Monday. Juarez police found the body of a young woman inside the trunk of an abandoned car.
The body was wrapped in a bloody blanket not far from a Mexican National Guard outpost in the Anapra neighborhood. Authorities said the victim is likely a young woman reported as missing by her family since Sunday evening when she left in a white Chevrolet Aveo like the one found in Anapra.
Two men were killed the same day in Anapra, a neighborhood in northwest Juarez known to be a springboard for the trafficking of drugs and migrants into the United States.
Juarez police told Border Report most murders in the past three years – involving male or female victims – have been drug-related. These types of crimes have increased as the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels expand in-house sales of whatever drugs they’re unable to cross into the United States.