The latest fad, to have completely passed us by, is causing a US crime wave, although it is also helping coppers with their PR at the same time.
Pokemon Go , created by mobile game developer Niantic for Nintendo is rather clever it gets players out of the house and walking outside to play. Staring at their phone screens, they search for virtual Pokemon characters that appear to pop up at office spaces, restaurants, museums and other places. Players score points in various ways, including capturing the Pokemon characters with a flick of a finger on their phone screen. Less than a week after launching in the United States, where it has drawn more than 7 million gamers to hunt virtual Pokemon, the game is also facing a backlash.
Already Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum have asked to be removed from the game. But the downside is that players have been drawn down dark alleys and into dangerous neighborhoods in search of the imaginary creatures, only to be targeted by criminals.
In College Park, Maryland, university students holding their smartphones out to play Pokemon Go were robbed by an armed suspect, police said. In Antelope, California, two men playing the game in a park late on Sunday reported being robbed and carjacked by a gunman. In Wyoming, a 19-year-old woman who set out to catch a Pokemon by the Big Wind River found a dead body.
The game was also to blame for a rash of car accidents in the United States. An illegally parked car whose driver had exited to catch a Pokemon was struck from behind, according to reports from Texas A&M University police, and another car struck a tree while its driver was playing the game while driving, Auburn New York police said.
It is not all bad though Pokemon characters have aided police. Noticing people playing the game on the street in Fall River, Massachusetts, an officer on patrol jumped in to join them. The fun was captured in a photo that police posted on Twitter and was liked more than 4,000 times.
The New York City Police Department’s 19th Precinct tweeted a photo of an officer riding in his cruiser with his “new partner” seated beside him, the popular Pokemon character known as Pikachu.
Two gamers playing in a Fullerton, California park on Tuesday wound up catching a man sought by police for crimes including attempted murder, authorities said. They were alerted by other players to a man following women and improperly touching children, and so the pair notified police and detained him until officers arrived. He was later found to have an outstanding warrant for multiple offenses.