The Sunderland Shopwatch Partnership (SSP) uses CCTV and a radio link to help retailers identify and track shoplifters and report them to the police.
More than 150 retailers take part in the scheme, which also has ties with the North East Retail Crime Partnership - which shares information between retailers in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Cleveland.
Figures from the SSP reveal that Sunderland shop owners made 961 reports about thieves in their stores between April and September this year.
An exclusion policy bars the city's 69 most persistent thieves from entering any SSP member's premises.
Inspector Steve Tallentire of Sunderland Area Command said: "Police work closely with Shopwatch members to help identify thieves, using CCTV cameras and a retail radiolink which enables partners to share information about active shop thieves. It is a successful scheme which has brought good results, and the figures reflect this. As always, it's only a small minority of people who come to the attention of police, and as a result of the effective relationship between retailers and the police, the current shoplifting crime detection rate for the city centre itself is as high as 87.5%."