Pokémon Go craze causes safety concerns

Pokémon Go is officially a craze.

The wildly popular app, downloaded millions of times over the weekend, is also the focus of police warnings in Western Washington.




>> Slideshow:  Pokemon Go craze hits Seattle, see screengrabs from safe locations 

>> Here are some of the best places to play Pokémon Go in Seattle

The game is a smart phone scavenger hunt using GPS on your phone.

But the game sometimes tells the player to go to places where access is unauthorized, such as the Edmonds fishing pier, which is currently closed.

That’s because Pokémon can appear randomly in places you aren’t allowed to go.

In Duvall, the police department is warning people to stay away from their police department headquarters—where people have been lurking in the bushes, apparently in search of Pokémon. Part of a Facebook post they published Sunday said:

"Please remember that these are especially tense times as of the last few days. Do not lurk around the PD at any hour while you are playing Pokémon Go.”

“You wouldn’t go out into a park at 11 o’clock at night and pull out your smartphone for anyone to see. The main message is you still need to be aware of your surroundings,” said Seth Tyler, Public Information Officer with Bellevue Police.

“Just because an app on your phone tells you to go somewhere, you shouldn’t necessarily do that,” added Tyler.

“Parents should be aware that this is out there. It’s up to parents to know what is on your kids phone and to have those conversations about internet safety,” said Tyler.

In Bellevue Sunday night, police responded to noise complaints at Bellevue Downtown Park — where some 100 Pokémon enthusiasts were chanting and shouting, even though the park was closed. It was a Pokémon battle of some kind, according to Bellevue Police.

Outside of the northwest in Missouri, criminals allegedly used the app to lure a group of teens – and then rob them at gunpoint.

Here's what Western Washington residents say about Pokemon Go 

KIRO 7 News posted about Pokémon Go and lots of people are noticing gamers stuck on their phones in public.




"I see people driving and playing that stupid game at the same time," posted Mynor Caballeros.

"I watched a teenager walk into a street sign in Port Townsend yesterday," said Cris Ward-Taylor,

"Yesterday a kid ran into traffic trying to catch something that's not real smh [shaking my head]," said Mike Jason Colon.

And Michelle Dotson said this: "This is crazy to watch at Wapato Park in WA there were over 100 people playing this game. I think its great because it gets people out of their houses, walking, exercising. It was definably concerning though even though they were in groups, outside they were still so stuck on their phones, totally see how someone could rob you while you're not paying attention.

Officials with AAA are advising drivers to not play the game while being behind the wheel.

"Trying to catch a Pokémon while behind the wheel is a major distraction and increases your risk of causing a crash," said Josh Carrasco, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. "Put your phone down while driving. Just one quick text or glance to see the next Pokéstop could end up costing you or someone else their life."

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