Thefts from retail stores are on the rise in Whittlesea, new crime data reveals.

Crime Statistics Agency data shows there were 805 thefts from retail stores in the municipality in the 12 months to December, 2018.

That was a 16 per cent increase in the number of shop thefts in the 12 months to December, 2017, when 692 were recorded by police.

The data shows that retail thefts are now at their highest level since 2009, when data was first collected.

Police recorded 221 offences in Epping, 267 in Bundoora and 97 in Mill Park.

Mernda Senior Sergeant Daniel Jamison said police had been paying particular attention to thefts from shops in the past year.

“Over the last 12 months, there has been a concerted effort by local police to support retailers and detect and prevent offences at our major shopping centres,” he said.

Senior Sergeant Jamison said police had run specific operations at major shopping centres in a bid to catch offenders.