Law enforcement agencies have released warnings and statements regarding augmented reality smartphone game Pokémon Go in an attempt to keep civilians safe.
From criminals using the game to lure, follow, and then rob unsuspecting victims to a nineteen-year-old girl after she jumped a fence to play the game to trespassing reports as players look to find elusive Pokémon, Pokémon Go has caused a stir around the world, and police are trying to keep people from getting into trouble.
“The Goochland County Sheriff’s Office has been experiencing a rise in Trespassing and Suspicious Activity events recently due to the new Pokémon Go app,” announced the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office in a post to their Facebook page.
This is a geo-cache type system that incorporates real world maps and digital gaming and is extremely popular. Deputies have located numerous individuals on business, church, and government properties at all hours of the night, when these places are closed to the public. The participants are using their phones to find the location of “Pokemons” in order to play the game. These actions are considered trespassing and put the individual and Deputies in a position of unnecessary risk. Please refrain from going onto property without proper permission or after appropriate times. Parents should encourage their children to avoid these actions for their own safety and enjoy the game responsibly.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
“Don’t catch & drive!” warned the Sarasota Police Department in a post on Twitter.
— SarasotaPD (@sarasotapd) July 11, 2016
“As the Pokemon Go fever hits the Streets of San Francisco, I wanted to take a few minutes to remind you/your kids of some simple safety tips. So as you battle, train, and capture your Pokemon – just remember you’re still in the real world! Other law enforcement agencies throughout the world have already reported accidents, injuries, and string of robberies where suspects have set up fake ‘Poke-spots,’” announced Captain Vaswani of the Bayview Police Station in San Francisco.
Know your surroundings and pay attention to where you are going/who is around you. Slow car paralleling a person on foot, might be a sign it’s a get-away car. If you get the sense you are being followed or set-up for a robbery, head to a lighted area with people around.
Watch where you are going, please don’t look down at your phone while crossing streets, getting off buses, or even while walking. Obey traffic laws, please.
Do not run into trees, meters, and things that are attached to the sidewalk; they hurt.
Do not drive or ride your bike / skateboard / hipster techie device while interacting with the app.
Know where your kids are going when playing with the app, set limits on where they can go, so they don’t keep going trying to get that Pokemon.
Tell your kids about stranger-danger because the app may bring strangers together in real life at ‘pokestops’.
Do not go onto private property, dark alleys, or areas that you usually would not go if you weren’t playing the game.
Be Safe, Enjoy!
Bangor Maine Police Department released a similar list of tips for players, and other police stations around the world have also joined in with the attempt to cut down on crime associated with the game.
“Some Pokemon will be harder to collect than others, so please use common sense when throwing your pokeballs and enjoy the game,” posted Nottinghamshire Police on Facebook.
“POLICE ARE NOW TARGETING: POKEMON,” announced Western Australia Police in a statement.
WA Police have received numerous reports of Pokemon around the state. Rest assured – we’re gonna catch ’em all!
Thanks to our counterparts at Queensland Police, here are a couple of tips to remember when collecting your Pokemon:
1. Communicate with your family, let them know where you plan on going and what time you will expect to be home.
2. ‘I was collecting Pokemon’ is not a legal defence against a charge of trespass, so be sure that you have permission to enter an area or building.
3. If you are using the app in a public place, stay alert to what is going on around you, and who is around you.
“So you gotta catch ’em all – but don’t let your pursuit of virtual monsters get you into real strife,” warned New Zealand Police.
We’d like players of the new Pokemon Go game to watch out for real-world hazards while using their phones to hunt Pokemon around our communities.
Never use your phone while driving; don’t step into the road without looking; watch out for others – particularly if they’ve got their noses buried in their phones; be aware of what’s happening around you; and respect other people and their property.
Stay safe and have fun!
“Please just let natural selection happen, if people die while playing Pokemon then that’s life, the smart people come out on top!” commented one user on the post, gaining nearly 400 likes.
Law enforcement agencies aren’t the only organizations who have had to release statements on the new augmented reality game either.
The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. was forced to release a statement asking people not to play the game there after it was revealed that the location was a “PokéStop” in-game, along with the 9/11 Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.
“It’s not like we came here to play,” commented one woman who was seen playing the game at the museum. “But gotta catch ’em all.” The Museum is currently attempting to get the area removed from the game.