Pokémon Go Forcing L.A. Residents to Walk Their Neighborhoods

Pokemon in L.A. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty)
Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty

In car-crazy Los Angeles, the Pokémon Go app is encouraging people to walk around their neighborhoods for the first time — particularly in areas where safety has perviously been a concern.

“Things have turned around,” Arthur Jenkins, 54, told the Los Angeles Times. “You have people who can walk around here without worrying about getting robbed or crazy things like that,” he said, referring to children who were exploring a park in the Watts neighborhood — where shootings, stabbings, robberies and rapes had besieged residents in the past.

Ivan Gonzalez, 22, a security guard at the park told the Times, “It’s unique, because a lot of people normally don’t show up. It’s the area. It’s Watts.”

Evergreen Park in Boyle Heights has reportedly also seen an uptick in outdoor activity, with residents noticing more youth outdoors in their quest to capture the mysterious, magical creatures that appear in real-time on their screens. 

Still, in neighborhoods where danger still lurks, people are reportedly slowly adjusting to staying out beyond 6 p.m.

The game has also resulted in some unfortunate injuries and discoveries. Earlier this month, three girls playing the game found a dead body in a San Diego park. It is believed the body had been there for a month. Last week, Breitbart News also reported that two men had fallen off of a San Diego cliff while playing the game. The game includes a warning advising players to be aware of their surroundings, but many ignore it.

Armed robbers attacked a Marine veteran in Lakewood who was playing the game, forcing him to fight for his life. And police have warned players to be aware of their surroundings, and to watch out for people who attempt to lure them to vulnerable spots using the game — and the elusive Pokémon — as bait.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz