There were more than 4000 retail thefts in Napier and Hastings over the last three years.
The number of thefts from shops rose steadily in that time, peaking in January 2017, according to police data.
The latest monthly crime figures from April show retail theft was still far higher than in 2014.
The data is included in the in-depth look at crime data led by Herald Insights.
Hastings City Business Association manager Susan McDade said the number of retail thefts had actually decreased in the CBD over the last few years, but reporting was up.
City Assist community patrols and businesses working together to track down thieves had helped, she said.
“But it is still a very real problem… we just don’t have the police we used to.”
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