VANCOUVER -- The latest statistics on crime in Vancouver suggest an increase in the most serious crimes in the city, police say.

A report on the first half of the year showed violent crime was up 5.2 per cent compared to last year in Vancouver, a figure the Vancouver Police Department's deputy chief constable called concerning.

"There was an increase in all areas of the city but areas like Strathcona, downtown and Yaletown recorded record high numbers," Howard Chow said in a statement Thursday morning.

The increase was largely driven by the number of serious assaults, according to Thursday's release.

That particular crime was up 21.7 per cent in the city, according to the department

"Police are continuing to pay special attention to Strathcona, where, for the first seven months of the year, calls for service about weapons went up by 50 per cent, break-ins went up by 68 per cent, and calls about threatening behavior increased by 14 per cent," the VPD release said.

The neighbourhood was the subject of a Vancouver City Council vote earlier this week. Councillors voted unanimously to explore emergency options to address a tent city that popped up in Strathcona Park after another residents were forced to leave another encampment in the Downtown Eastside.

In Thursday's report, the VPD also noticed a "significant' increase in break-ins at commercial properties (47.9 per cent), likely in part due to businesses being closed earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic

Property crime overall has been down (12.9 per cent), and there has been a "dramatic reduction" in break-ins to vehicles (29.6), police said.

Chow attributed the decrease to fewer vehicles being parked downtown or on the road in general as many faced job loss or started working from home.

Overall, fewer calls were made to police, but of the calls that were made, more were serious in the first six months than in the same period last year.

Read the full report online