Play safe if you ‘gotta catch ’em all’, warns Yellowknife RCMP

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Wannabe Ash Ketchums are being warned by Yellowknife RCMP to pay attention to their surroundings when they’re out trying to catch Pokémon in the city.

Mobile game Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm in recent weeks and was officially released in Canada last Sunday.

The game uses GPS and cameras on iPhone and Android devices to create a location-based reality game.

You’ve probably already seen people running around the city glued to their devices as they try to capture and train digital Pokémon that appear in real-life settings through their phone’s camera.

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But already there have been reports of serious accidents in Canada and around the world linked to the game.

They range from people coming across dead bodies, gamers putting themselves in harm’s way just to find a fictional creature and people being lured somewhere only to be beaten or mugged.

“Although this game provides players with the opportunity to discover their community and get some exercise, it also poses challenges and potential dangers for those who play,” said Yellowknife RCMP in a statement.

While police say there haven’t been any issues reported in Yellowknife yet, they’re issuing the following tips for aspiring Pokémon masters and their parents:

  • Although the game will stop if you are in a car moving over a certain speed, this does not apply to riding a bicycle, skateboard or roller blades
  • Walking and playing is great, but walking and playing in the middle of the street is not
  • Be aware of your surroundings. As you are concentrating on your game, someone may be watching you which makes you an easy target for crime
  • Going on someone’s property is trespassing so be mindful of other people’s belongings
  • The game is an opportunity to meet new people, but younger children should be reminded how to deal with strangers
  • Make sure friends and family know where you’re going so that if you find yourself in an area you’re unfamiliar with, you can retrace your steps or call someone
  • Keep an eye on your device battery. Pokémon are power hungry and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you have no way to call for help
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