The Pokémon Go craze show no sign of stopping, so police departments country-wide are issuing proactive warnings in order to protect the safety of players.
The biggest mobile game in U.S. history features an "augmented reality" experience in which players are able to find and catch Pokémon characters in the real world. But some users are going above and beyond to catch these “pocket monsters,” and in doing so are risking their own physical safety in the process.
“Pokémon Go put me in the ER last night,” one player wrote on a Reddit page devoted to the game. “Not even 30 minutes after the release last night, I slipped and fell down a ditch,” the user wrote. “Fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in my foot…Watch where you’re going, folks!”
Authorities across the country, including the National Parks Association, this week issued proactive warnings in response to the recent apparent dangers of Pokémon Go.
Police departments in New York, Miami, Austin and Los Angeles released their lists of safety tips on Wednesday to prevent further Pokémon Go accidents, including:
- Be alert at all times
- Stay aware of your surroundings
- Play in pairs or as a group in well-lit areas to ensure your safety
- Do not drive or ride your bike, skateboard, or other device while interacting with the app – “you can’t do both safely”
- Do not trespass onto private property or go to areas you usually would not if you weren’t playing Pokémon Go
- Be cautious of being lured into a bad situation
And the warnings seem absolutely necessary:
A player in Texas exited a moving vehicle Monday to catch a nearby Pokémon, according to the Texas A&M University police department.
And an Tuesday, 15-year-old Autumn Diesroth of Tarentum, Pennsylvania, was struck by a car after the game “took her across a major highway at 5 o’clock in the evening,” according to WPXI in Pittsburgh.
“Parents, don’t let your kids play this game because you don’t want to go through what I went through,” Tracy Nolan, Diesroth’s mother, told the affiliate.
In the past week, a 19-year-old in Wyoming discovered a body floating in the local river, two players in Washington stumbled upon a loaded gun in a field, four players were mugged in Missouri, and two players were robbed in a California park — all while playing the game.