SAN FRANCISCO—Pokemon Go, an augmented reality smartphone game that was released in the U.S. on Wednesday, July 6, has become a national phenomenon, according to reports. The San Francisco Police Department has issued safety warnings for players of the game after a series of incidents being reported across the U.S.
Pokemon Go allows players using their smartphone and GPS to walk around and encounter video game creatures called “Pokemon” that cause their smartphone to vibrate. There are also aspects of the game such as “Poke-stops” and “Gyms” that can be accessed by other players. The game has 100,000 downloads through Google Play thus far and was developed by the San Francisco-based company, Niantic.
According to a press release from Captain Vaswani of the SFPD’s Bayview Station, there have been reports of accidents, injuries and a string of robberies across the U.S. since the game’s release. In Missouri, it was reported that four teenagers robbed players over the weekend by setting up a fake “Poke-stop” to lure players to their location.
The SFPD told San Francisco News that there have been no reports of accidents or crimes due to Pokemon Go. Even though there have been no reports Capatain Vaswani issued the following safety warnings for players of the game:
– 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 ‘Poke-stops’.
– Do not go onto private property, dark alleys, or areas that you usually would not go if you weren’t playing the game.