'In a zombie-like state': Vancouver police issue warning over Pokemon Go
Carly Yoshida, CTV Vancouver
Published Tuesday, July 12, 2016 6:32PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 13, 2016 3:15PM PDT
The new Pokemon Go smartphone game has become so popular and distracting that it’s triggered safety warnings from Vancouver police and Richmond RCMP.
Pokemon Go uses the camera on your smartphone to combine the world of the game with the area people are actually living and working in. Players have to travel to real locations to capture Pokemon characters with their phones.
“Vancouver Police have received reports of large groups of people gathering in parks and on city streets and other public areas, at all hours of the day and night,” a news release said.
“The groups appear to be searching for something, many holding cell phones in the air, while others appear to be in a zombie-like state, eyes glued to their phones, as they walk down the street or ride their bikes and skateboards.”
The game isn’t technically available in Canada yet but players have figured out ways to download it and play it here already.
Police are hoping Pokemon Go players will heed their advice to ensure they stay safe.
The game has already led to a number of injuries due to people bumping into things and paying more attention to their phones than their surroundings. It even distracted a Florida news anchor so much that she ended up walking in front of a live weather broadcast.
Vancouver police are hoping both adults and children will heed a few tips to ensure they have fun and stay safe:
- Take note of your surroundings. Be on the lookout for traffic or other hazards.
- Kids should tell parents where they’re going, and players should travel with a group.
- Don’t play the game while driving or biking.
- Stay off private property.
Richmond RCMP also said gamers should be aware of the dangers of playing alone at night with poor visibility. Cpl. Dennis Hwang noted there is a concern about sending police officers to investigate groups of Pokemon Go players.
“When we are dispatched to calls involving groups of individuals, officer safety is paramount. Typically we would deploy multiple officers to investigate," Hwang said in a release. "We do not wish to be spoilsports, as many of our officers enjoy gaming too, but we want to make sure that our resources are not tied up investigating Pokémon players or gatherings, especially when our assistance can be wisely allocated elsewhere. Hopefully, our tips will help. Pika Pika!“