GUADALAJARA — Mexico's state of Jalisco is experiencing a violent crime wave against women.
Mexico City-based daily El Universal reports that the number of murders of women, also known as femicides, rose to 150 there in 2015, part of a troubling rise in killings since 2009, when only 58 were recorded.
While the notoriously violent northern city of Ciudad Juárez was once the epicenter of gender-based crime, the problem has since spread to Jalisco, the country's third most-populous state and home to Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city.
Jalisco Gov. Aristóteles Sandoval has decreed a state of alert in eight municipalities across the state, including Guadalajara and the popular tourist centers of Zapopan and Puerto Vallarta.
"Not only do they take their lives, but there is extreme violence against their bodies," gender expert Guadalupe Ramos Ponce said of the perpetrators of these crimes against women. "There is a system that promotes and allows misogynist violence."
It's no coincidence that the troubling trend coincides with a decrease in state funding for violence prevention and aid to victims. According to the Jalisco Institute for Women (IJM), austerity policies have led to deep cuts, with prevention funds slashed by 91% from 2012 to 2015.
In the first three months of this year, there have already been 28 murders of women in Jalisco. The state government is responding to the crisis by implementing a search program for missing women and children. The state of alert for violence against women also includes the equivalent of $1.5 million to tackle Jalisco's femicide crisis.
Even as they devise policies to combat the wave of crime, other state governments are facing similar challenges. Nonetheless, Ponce believes the issue runs far deeper. "Violence against women is tolerated," she says. "It is a socially accepted phenomenon."