Riverton – Pokémon Go is the increasingly-popular mobile phone game app taking the world by storm. I had to explain how the game works to police, but once I did, they immediately saw the potential for multiple problems.
The game’s popularity has snowballed, and a lot of kids are picking up the game simply because their friends are playing.
“They say it’s really addicting,” said Kyah Flom, who works at a PokéStop destination. “My brother likes to play it all the time, and he’s having fun because it’s a video game.”
Pokémon Go player Adrian Rumery-Rico explained his dive into the game. “I got it yesterday, and I caught my first Pokémon outside in my front yard.”
But police said they have already had run-ins with the game.
Lander Police Department Information Officer Duane Kaiser explained, “There are actually several safety issues that have arisen since the release of this Pokémon Go. We even had a traffic stop early this morning. The officer actually thought he had a possible drunk driver, and it was actually two people playing this Pokémon game on the go, in their vehicle.”
Some people are already finding ways to misuse the game's social environment.
“We’ve already heard that in some of the bigger cities this already being used to actually rob people, by setting a lure and enticing them to a certain area,” Kaiser said.
You have to physically walk to specific locations to find the Pokémon, which police say could lead to trespassing problems.
“These Pokémon don’t necessarily know whether they’re on private property or not,” cautioned Kaiser. “So you could be walking, and it could show that it’s in a nearby house on that property. Well you have to know that’s private property—you cannot go on that property.”
One good aspect of the game is it gets people walking around outside to places they may have never noticed. I found a veterans’ war memorial in Riverton that I didn’t even know existed until the game led me there.
Lander Police leaders will be showing their officers the game and how it works, so all can know what to expect.
Casper police are also getting calls related to the game, including one person searching for Pokémon in the park who called in two men getting drunk in public.