Car thefts in Vancouver fell 25 percent in 2008 compared to the year before, according to the Vancouver Police Department's annual report released Friday.

Police spokeswoman Const. Jana McGuinness attributed the decline in part to the BAIT car program, in which police-owned vehicles are parked in high-target areas and can be tracked if stolen.

The annual report showed that overall crime in the city fell six percent. Property crimes - which generate the most calls for the city -- dropped eight percent.

"Violent crime continues to be a major concern for us, registering only a small drop from last year," Vancouver police Chief Const. Jim Chu said at a press conference. The rate of violent crime per 1,000 residents went from 12.5 to 12.4.

Violent crimes include homicides, attempted murders, sexual offences, assaults, abductions and robberies.

Traffic infractions were up four per cent and accidents increased 10.4 per cent.

Chu cited an accident earlier this week in which a truck driver hit a mother and her two-year-old child in a crosswalk. The girl died at the scene. The mother remains in serious condition in hospital.

Chu said the department plans to roll out some new traffic safety campaigns in the coming weeks.

For more on the VPD's annual report go to