Pokemon STOP! NJ cops scared you’ll trespass or walk into traffic
TRENTON — Pokemon Go players around New Jersey are being warned to be careful in their quest to catch 'em all.
Players are out at all hours of the day and night, cell phones in hand, looking for Pokestops and PokeGyms where any of 151 characters could be playing. But they're also walking into traffic and into inappropriate places in their hunts as well.
"Please keep your heads up and phones down while walking, biking and driving — be aware of your surroundings. We don't want anyone losing their life over trying to catch a Pokemon," wrote Long Beach Township Police on their Facebook page, adding that there are "no Pokemon in our Police Department building ... and if there are, you still can't come in and catch them."
The department also warned parents, who are playing the app that's been downloaded more than 8 million times since becoming available last week, to be aware of the dangers the game presents.
West Windsor Police Lt. Robert Garofalo said players should use their heads in their hunt: “Don’t do anything that you normally would think is bad, Normally you wouldn’t go to a deserted alley at 3 a.m. That shouldn’t change just because an app said you should.”
In a Nixle alert, Garofalo warned, "Please be aware of your surroundings and always use best practices for personal safety no matter where an app tells you to go. Using the geolocation feature or the beacon from the game may be a clever trick by would-be robbers who are interested in your real world stuff and not your Pokemon."
Washington Township Police in Gloucester County warned about respecting private property and posted hours.
They've seen "Kids walking in the grass median of the Black Horse Pike, people not wanting to leave Washington Lake Park at closing time, a sudden interest in the history of Washington Township's Olde Stone House Village, trespassing complaints on the Wedgwood Country Club, and plenty of people walking and standing throughout the township, and throughout the night, holding their phones," police wrote on their Facebook page about the game.
"You cannot use the Pokemon Go defense if you break the law," the department wrote.
Marlboro Police Captain Fred Reck said that during a township concert and fireworks display, officers saw kids with their heads buried in their devices and ignoring the colorful displays over their heads. They also got a call about a suspicious vehicle parked at the Marlboro Township Recreation Department that turned out to be people collecting Pokemon characters.
Reck said of his four children, his 18-year-old daughter is into the game the most.
“That’s the age group that’s really hitting it right now,” because they grew up on Pokemon, said Reck.
The NYPD issued safety tips for playing Pokemon Go:
- Be alert at all times
- Stay aware of your surroundings
- Play in pairs or as a group 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 safety
- Do not trespass onto private property or go to areas you usually would not if you weren't playing Pokémon Go
- Be aware and tell your kids about "stranger-danger". The app may draw strangers together in real life at 'Pokéstops'
- Parents - be aware of 3rd party software apps claiming to enhance the gaming experience however, these 3rd party apps only gives access to sensitive data - i.e. name, email, calendar
- Have fun AND stay safe. Good luck in your quest, and happy hatching, trapping, and training at the Pokémon Gym!