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2019 was Mexico’s most violent, Sonora saw biggest jump in homicides

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TUCSON – A new report shows an increase in violent crimes in Mexico, setting records for the most murders ever recorded.

The Mexican state of Sonora saw the biggest jump in homicides, alarming people on both sides of the border.

Sheriffs in Santa Cruz and Cochise counties take the violence in Mexico very seriously, especially when the number of murders has increased.

“When you see it happening over there and it is so close to our side, it is concerning,” said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada.

Federal authorities released data saying 34,582 people were murdered in 2019.

"There is good people in Mexico. There is good people in the United States that share that border," said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels. "So it is very deterring to me that the violence is in an uprise in south of our border Mexico. "

In Sonora, there was a nearly 60 percent increase in murders – 1, 356 people to be exact.

"They are using our protection to protect people who have terrorized their own country now and our country and it is a little unsettling, I will be honest with you, but it is real," said Dannels.

Santa Cruz Sheriff Tony Estrada and Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels both agree politics play a major role in the violence in Mexico.

"Our President is putting pressure on Mexico to step up and do their part when it comes to the migration into the United States," said Dannels. "The illegals, the crime stuff we are working on with the border and it all boils down to public safety, humanitarian efforts and national security. We're working on public safety, but that pressure is on Mexico. It's back on the cartels. They're feeling that pressure, too."

Sheriff Estrada says the violence in Sonora can shed a bad light on Nogales.

"I think all of it impacts the overall. We have politics on both sides of the border," said Estrada. "The lack of government intervention in certain issues there. Things like drugs and human smuggling all play a big part I think in violence we are starting to see."

News 4 Tucson's Allie Potter spoke to a local resident who travels from Tucson to Mexico for her dentist's appointments.

As a woman and a Tucsonan, she feels perfectly safe.

"It is comforting honestly. As long as you do not come in here with ruckus or with ruckus you are perfectly safe and fine in my opinion," said Ayshe Parker.

Santa Cruz and Cochise County sheriffs might not see eye to eye on everything but they believe setting politics aside and working together as a team is what keeps southern Arizona safe.

Allie Potter

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