Vancouver’s crime rate dropped by more than six per cent in 2009, but still remains considerably higher than other major Canadian centres, the city’s police chief said yesterday.

Chief Const. Jim Chu said Vancouver’s crime rate is still 50 to 60 per cent higher than in Montreal or Toronto, mainly due to the high amount of property crime in the city. Two-thirds of all Criminal Code offences in Vancouver are property crimes.

“We have addicted criminal offenders who support their drug addiction by committing property crimes,” Chu said.

According to the statistics released yesterday, property crime in general declined 8.9 per cent.

Break and entry went down 19.3 per cent and stolen vehicles dropped 17.8 per cent.

Chu credited the drop in property crime to tougher sentencing and working through the community court to get repeat chronic offenders into drug-treatment programs.

The department’s “Con Air” program has transported almost 50 people back for crimes committed in other jurisdictions.