ST. LOUIS - As much as city leaders try to fix the St. Louis homicide rate, the number of deaths to senseless violence continues to rise.
As of Tuesday, June 26, the city sits at 79 homicides this year.
That’s 11 less than at this same time last year, but State Senator Jamilah Nasheed is requesting Governor Mike Parson to declare a state of emergency.
“Just yesterday, we had two murders and one shooting in one day,” the state senator said. “People are fed up, people are tired, people want to see a change here in the City of St. Louis.”
The senator points to what she is calling an epidemic of gun violence as one of the prime factors in ringing the alarm.
“It’s breaking my heart,” Nasheed said. “We have to figure out how we can solve the problem of gun violence in the City of St. Louis and how we as elected officials can roll up our sleeves and say enough is enough.”
Just last year, former Governor Eric Greitens called in Missouri Highway Patrol to man the highways, therefore freeing up St. Louis police to focus more on fighting crimes in neighborhoods.
His administration declared that initiative a slam dunk with homicide numbers slightly decreasing during the three-month program.
FOX 2 asked the state senator if she sees that program as a move that needs to be revisited.
“We’re not calling for a military force to come in and invade our community,” she explained. “What we need more now than ever before is resources. We need trauma-informed centers in the schools to begin to deal with the young folks who have trauma each and every day as a result of seeing bodies lying in the street. We need resources and that’s what I am calling for.”
St. Louis Police chief John Hayden is welcoming the extra help that could come with a state of emergency.
The chief said in a statement:
“Additional resources are always welcomed in our ongoing fight to reduce violent crime. I would like to point out that our current 79 homicides are 11 less than this time last year; and homicides in our violence reduction zone, also known as Hayden’s Rectangle, are down 34% year-to-date. I believe we are trending in the right direction and additional resources would potentially further decrease violent crime in the City.”