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A police officer checks the speed of the vehicles in Wheeling, Ill., Thursday, April 9, 2020. 

(The Center Square) – A new report shows that the city of Chicago, as well as several other Illinois cities, have been underreporting the amount of crime in their areas to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The report by Axios Chicago reveals that 19% of cities including Chicago, Niles, Naperville and Morton Grove have reported less than 11 months of data to the FBI in 2021.

The report analyzing data from The Marshall Project also shows that 66% of Illinois departments, including those in Peoria, Huntley, and Crystal Lake, reported none at all.

The largest city in Illinois that did not report any crime at all to the FBI in 2021 is the city of Aurora, which has a population of almost 200,000 residents, the second largest in the state.

Richard Irvin is the mayor of Aurora and one of six candidates for the GOP nomination for governor. He's been endorsed by several law enforcement agencies since announcing his campaign.

Irvin said during a recent GOP debate that Aurora is one of the safest cities in the nation.

"Look at the statistics, and I did not make this up, WalletHub has Aurora as the sixth safest large city in America and I stand by that," Irvin said.

The office of Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin did not return a request for comment about the Axios report.

The Axios report said the FBI retired a nearly century-old data collection program last year and switched to a new system, and provided assistance and taxpayer resources to help local police departments make the switch.

State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, said not properly reporting such statistics to the FBI make lawmakers' jobs even harder, as well as ruining the trust between them and taxpayers.

"We need to hold these police departments accountable because if the police department is not forthright about how much crime they see, it is very hard on legislators to advocate for more dollars to help fight that crime," Ford said.

The city of Chicago, which underreported its crime rate by five months, has drawn national attention for the high amount of crime it sees. Ford said the problems there could be worse than previously thought.

"It is alarming to me that we have the government lying to the taxpayer," Ford said. "It means that in Chicago our streets are less safe and more dangerous than we are being told."

Staff Reporter

Andrew Hensel has years of experience as a reporter and pre-game host for the Joliet Slammers, and as a producer for the Windy City Bulls. A graduate of Iowa Wesleyan University and Illinois Media School, Andrew lives in the south suburbs of Chicago.