CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The police department in North Carolina’s largest city has expressed concern over what it said is a 210% increase in sexual assault cases involving children this year.

A news release from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on Thursday said detectives in its Crimes Against Children Unit had observed small changes in the number of cases year to year. But the department said those detectives have reported 31 sexual assault cases in 2021, compared to 10 during the same period 2020.

Detective Jessica Hall told a news conference that the increase may be the result of a delay in reporting because the child remains with their abuser or they feel unsafe about telling anyone.

Police said that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, children were removed from student activities, thus taking them away from schools and places with a trusted adult. The department said it hopes to see more cases reported sooner now that children are returning to school and have the resources such as guidance counselors and trusted adults to report such incidents.