Pokémon Go was released on July 6, 2016, and has quickly emerged as one of the most popular games in the world. According to Forbes, Pokémon Go has already become the most popular mobile game in United States history, averaging well over 20 million daily unique users. Pokémon Go is everywhere – in your backyard, on the subway, in the sky, in the car, and in the water.
Many are calling it revolutionary. Some are calling it a dangerous threat to public safety.
Criminals Luring Users into Victimization
In the game, there is an item called a “lure”. It does exactly what you think it does. When used, it lures Pokémon to a specific location. Other users can see this and reap the benefits of the lure. This attracts game users to this location – which can pose extreme dangers. Criminals are luring innocent users to unfamiliar locations by using such items, and then victimizing them.
Auburn, Alabama police reported that an Auburn University student was violently robbed by four men after being lured to a “Pokéspot”. According to the LA Times, another two people were robbed at gunpoint after being lured to a secluded location at the Lone Oak Park in Antelope, California. On July 13, three University of Maryland students were robbed at gunpoint after being lured to a Pokéspot.
These are only a few of the many stories so far – and the game is not even one month old! The point is – we need to be careful. Do not travel to unfamiliar locations. If you go out to play the game, then bring a friend or two with you. Do not become so engulfed in your phone that you forget where you are. Be alert. Be aware. Be smart.
Users will go to extreme circumstances to catch some of the rarest Pokémon in the game. This includes trespassing on the property of our homes, businesses, and properties. This is a safety threat to all. How can we tell the innocent wannabe Ash Ketchum’s from the true criminals scoping out a new victim? Take precautions – do not let Pokémon Go users trespass on your property. Security cameras and security signs can help to deter these users and criminals.
Be Aware of your Surroundings
On July 16, two men were trying to find rare Pokémon, but instead found themselves falling more than 75 feet to the bottom of a cliff. Thankfully, neither person was critically injured. However, there is a lesson to be learned here – Pay attention to your surroundings!
Pokémon Go Safety Tips
Look up from the phone screen when walking around. Remember, the phone vibrates when a Pokémon appears. Stop walking when trying to catch one. Be smart about the gameplay. There was already a massive problem of people spending too much time staring at their phones rather than maintaining situational awareness. It appears that Pokémon Go is not going to make things any better.