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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation says it has received a record number of reports of suspected online child exploitation for a second year despite many students’ return to classrooms and parents’ return to offices.

According to an NCSBI news release, its Computer Crimes Unit and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force continue to see an increase in the number of CyberTips via the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In 2021, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBI received 12,760 tips.

That’s an increase from 9,308 in 2020 and 4,930 in 2019. Kevin Roughton, special agent in charge, says the numbers indicate the problem is serious.