The Charlestown Police Departments urges players; as well as, parents of “Pokémon Go” players to stay safe and alert as the game becomes more popular.
The game, which launched last week for iPhones and Android devices, is based on the classic cartoon and video game series. 1Players use a GPS map to locate cartoon creatures called Pokémon. When a character is tapped, the app launches the smartphone’s camera for a mini-game where the Pokémon appear to be moving in the real world. Pokémon Go has surged to become a viral hit, as players seek out unique hiding spots for Pokémon. The game requires players to move and pay attention to the touchscreen as they seek out Pokémon, prompting several agencies to urge players to stay aware of their surroundings and be careful.
“Reports of close calls associated with playing Pokémon Go already are rolling in,” reads a statement released Tuesday by the National Safety Council. “The Council urges gamers to consider safety over their scores before a life is lost.”
Along with pedestrians distracted by their quest to find that rare Pokémon, health and safety agencies are also warning about distracted driving. “What is meant to be a fun game can have tragic real-world consequences if you’re playing it while driving or crossing the street,” said and Official with the National Highway Safety Council.
Some police departments are reporting increased calls for trespassing or suspicious activity related to Pokémon Go. The game features Pokéstops, landmarks such as statues or churches where players can stop to retrieve virtual items. Users may receive different items or capture different creatures depending on the time of day, too.
“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,” comments one local police source. Because players can find new characters at all hours, and in-game items such as Lure Modules boost the chances of discovering Pokémon, players are warned to beware their surroundings. In Missouri, four teens were arrested for allegedly using the app to lure potential robbery victims. There have also been serious concerns about Sexual Predators luring potential young victims playing the game.
The Charlestown Police Department reminds parents and kids to have fun playing the game; but to always exercise smart and responsible safety measures.