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Police: Pokemon Go leading to increase in local crime

Pokemon Go is displayed on a cell phone in Los Angeles on Friday. Just days after being made available in the U.S., the mobile game Pokemon Go has jumped to become the top-grossing app in the App Store. And players have reported wiping out in a variety of ways as they wander the real world, eyes glued to their smartphone screens, in search of digital monsters.
Pokemon Go is displayed on a cell phone in Los Angeles on Friday. Just days after being made available in the U.S., the mobile game Pokemon Go has jumped to become the top-grossing app in the App Store. And players have reported wiping out in a variety of ways as they wander the real world, eyes glued to their smartphone screens, in search of digital monsters. AP

Some people playing Pokemon Go seem to be forgetting that while the game is in their phones, they’re still wandering around in the real world.

And that world has laws that these people are consistently breaking while playing the game, according to multiple police departments nationwide. It’s also attracting criminals who seek to take advantage of people who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.

Pokemon Go is a game people can download for free on their smartphones. Users follow a map to different areas and use their smartphone cameras and try to “catch” Pokemon on their phones. It was released Thursday and has already shot to the top of the App Store.

Many police departments have issued public warnings about the game on social media. Many warning about trespassing and distracted driving issues, but some even warn that robbers had learned to stake out popular spots to steal from players.

About eight or nine people were robbed by four men in O’Fallon, Missouri over the weekend, according to Gizmodo. They would use the game to find players at specific locations and robbed them using a handgun.

But many police warnings focus more on the risk of users not paying attention to their surroundings.

The San Francisco Police Department issued an exhaustive list that has one basic premise: Pay attention to what you’re doing in the real world while playing the game.

“Do not run into trees, meters, and things that are attached to the sidewalk; they hurt,” one part read. “Do not drive or ride your bike/skateboard/hipster techie device while interacting with the app.”

The Largo Police Department even injected some humor when warning people to stay out of parks after hours, describing a group of about 100 Pokemon players as looking “like a bunch of trendy zombies following a mystical GPS device.”

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