Crime in St. Louis is an "unyielding and deadly public health threat," a Missouri state senator said in a letter to the governor asking him to declare a state of emergency. Missouri Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a Democrat, wrote the letter to Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, on Tuesday, the day after a cab driver was found dead in the street and another man was gunned down outside a pizzeria. "To date, there have been 79 homicides in the St. Louis area in 2018. By the time you receive this letter, that number will almost certainly have gone up," Nasheed wrote. The 79 homicides are for St. Louis city. That's less than the 90 homicides the city had at this point in 2017, but that year ranked as the deadliest in decades. The city said crimes against people are down 6 percent from last year and property crime is down 2.6 percent. With a state of emergency in place, Nasheed said she wants the state police, health and mental health services to be available. Nasheed said that would give local police help and provide trauma care and diversion programs for children. "Governor, we must do everything we can to restore a sense of safety, hope and pride for the people who life here," she wrote. A spokeswoman for the governor said he had been on the road and unable to review Nasheed's letter. But Parson has met with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and wants to reduce crime across the state, Kelli Jones said. "We always appreciate the state's funding for the ongoing prevention and enforcement efforts that we have," Krewson said in a statement. Her spokeswoman, Emily Thenhaus, said she could not clarify whether Krewson thought the city needed more resources from the state. Under Missouri law, the governor or the Legislature can declare a state of emergency if it "finds that a natural or man-made disaster of major proportions has actually occurred" and "that the safety and welfare of the inhabitants of this state require" such a declaration. While chief executives typically declare states of emergency for natural disasters, President Donald Trump last year declared a "public health emergency" in regard to opioid addiction, which was designed to loosen up federal resources to help deal with the epidemic. Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency as protests roiled Ferguson in 2014. Former Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican who resigned June 1, activated the Missouri National Guard in anticipation of expected protests in St. Louis last year, but his executive order did not say he was declaring a state of emergency.