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Police warn Pokémon GO app players about safety

Posted at 11:09 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 00:09:53-04

The Pokémon GO app is now at the fingertips of millions of Americans – even local police.

But as hysteria over the popular mobile app swells, police departments are warning players of staying safe and alert when playing.  

"Safety is kind of paramount. I realized when i first downloaded the app and I used it. Another officer and myself were having lunch and I thought, 'I got to see what this is all about.' So i downloaded it and we walked out of the restaurant and the first Pokémon to pop up was across the street so i find myself looking down on my phone stepping off the curb. I mean, that right there is unsafe," says Captain Jeremy Kinsey of the La Visa Police Department. 

The game features Pokestops – landmarks such as statues or churches where players can stop to retrieve virtual items. Police have received several complaints about Pokémon players hunting in their private property.

"In the last 24 hours, we’ve responded to seven incidents within the city due to suspicious circumstances, suspicious people, suspicious cars, people in cars, and then officers respond to the scene and find out that it’s people hunting Pokémon," says Kinsey. 

Along with users trespassing on their quest to find that rare Pokémon – La Vista police are also warning players of being lured by predators to dangerous areas.

”People out there – the criminals – they’re going to capitalize on whatever weaknesses there are out there, and if you’re making yourself weak and vulnerable by not paying attention to where you’re at, you’re putting yourself in a potential dangerous situation," adds Kinsey. 

As police play the app to understand it and the real-life consequences the game could bring, police advise vigilance. 

”Be aware of where you’re going, be aware of what you’re doing, know who you’re going out with, go out in numbers, and don’t go by yourself to an area where you typically wouldn’t go, particularly just to chase a Pokémon.”