Vancouver's crime rate -- including violent crime -- dropped last year despite a bloody gang war for most of the first half of 2009.

There were fewer murders, attempted murders, assaults and robberies during the year, although Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu admits the city's overall crime rate is still higher than other major Canadian cities.

He says property crime fuelled by drug addiction is the major reason the overall crime rate remains high.

Vancouver had 18 homicides last year, down from 19 in 2008, attempted murders dropped to 18 from 22, and while sex offences jumped almost 20 per cent, Chu says that's partly because of more enforcement focused on the child-sex trade.