VANCOUVER -- More than two dozen arrests have been made in connection to property crime in downtown Vancouver, local police say.

Late last year, local shop owners said they were fed up with brazen shoplifting taking place in the downtown core and Vancouver police said they had been concerned with the violence often associated with these incidents as well. 

"Since December, our patrol officers have been working closely with our partners in retail security around the city," said Const. Tania Visintin with the Vancouver Police Department in a new release. "We have a common goal, and that is to target violent property crime offenders and protect retailers from financial loss."

Those efforts have led to 26 arrests with multiple charges being forwarded to Crown for each person. Charges vary and include theft under $5,000, breach of probation, robbery and possession of stolen property.

"This project has allowed VPD officers, members of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and loss prevention officers in multiple retail stores (to) target repeat offenders who threaten staff with violence in committing their crimes," Visintin said. 

On Wednesday, Vancouver police released its crime statistics for 2019, which showed the overall crime rate was up in the city. 

Nearly 80 per cent of violent crime incidents last year were assaults. Police said this is an increase of 11.2 per cent from the previous year.

Police also said there were 4,521 reported assaults in 2019, compared to 4,064 in 2018. Due to that increase, Vancouver's overall crime rate was up 7.2 per cent.

However, Visintin said she couldn't speculate if the recent arrests will help reduce future crime rates in the city.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kendra Mangione