Like many of you, when I first heard the words “Pokemon Go” I didn’t give it much thought. As a mid-level tech savvy person who doesn’t spend much time on Facebook, Twitter, or the like, I consider myself fairly limited when it comes to any new techno stuff. That is of course until I started hearing about the worldwide problems that this little game is creating, some of which we are experiencing right here at home. So what is Pokemon Go? Well it’s a Nintendo based game that works by layering the game play setting over the real world we live in every day. As players wander the streets, open areas in buildings, airports, grocery stores, etc, their faces are buried in their phones mindful of the next Pokemon they can capture and train for future battles against their foes. Sounds interesting I must admit, and I do believe the game is well intentioned.
That being said, there are significant risks that must be considered while playing this game. For example, did you know that several people have been run over and in some cases seriously injured while playing Pokemon Go? Crossing the street, jumping out into traffic, even driving with their phones held up to their faces, and yes we have observed and ticketed offenders for doing this right here in Bonnyville. With all that has already been said about distracted driving in this Province, this Pokemon Go revelation is astounding and disappointing. Please keep in mind that distracted driving carries with it a $287 fine and three demerits. However, HINT it’s possible that HINT our officers may HINT, HINT lay a careless driving charge valued at $543 and six demerits for anyone observed playing video games on their phone while driving. This is a serious public safety issue and I’d demand no less of my police service. This community can expect that we will deal with Pokemon’ees..or Pokemon’ers… harshly if observed driving while distracted by any game play on their smart phones.
Driving aside, there have been cases primarily in the USA where people have been assaulted, mugged, had their phones stolen, and even murdered in Guatemala while playing Pokemon Go. It’s a sad reality but we live in what can be a very dangerous world. Wherever there is opportunity for entertainment, there is also opportunity for crime and victimization. Keep your whits about you, keep your head up, enjoy the game but please play sensibly.
*Cop Corner is written by S/Sgt Luis Gandolfi of the Bonnyville RCMP Detachment. It has not been altered from the author’s original content.