Police in the D.C. metro area are issuing safety warnings to users of the viral game Pokemon Go and reminding players to obey the law after locations were discovered inside the Pentagon and White House.
The game forces users to go to different locations to capture a hidden Pokemon before other players in the same location beat them to it. Frustrated users of the app have now reported Pokemon locations in the center of the Pentagon and the White House, which of course they cannot get to, reports WJLA.
— Denz Dejawon (@DenzingDown) July 10, 2016
Authorities are asking people playing the game to remember it is not an excuse to break trespassing laws, whether at a government building or on private property. Police have noted an increase in emergency calls reporting, “trespassing and suspicious activity events recently due to the new Pokemon Go app.”
“Deputies have located numerous individuals on business, church, and government properties at all hours of the night, when these places are closed to the public,” the Goochland Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “The participants are using their phones to find the location of ‘Pokemons’ in order to play the game. These actions are considered trespassing and put the individual and Deputies in a position of unnecessary risk.”
Officials with the National Mall and Memorial Parks wrote a Facebook post asking people to respect the monuments and refrain from trying to catch Pokemon in solemn areas. While asking for respect of certain monuments and fellow tourists, officials encouraged people to use the app in areas such as the Constitution Garden or the lawn surrounding the Washington Monument, reports NBC Washington.
“As you race around the park trying to collect as many Pokemon as possible, please remember to be respectful of your fellow visitors as well as the memorials,” National Mall and Memorial Parks officials wrote in a post Monday. “Yes, it might be tempting to go after that Snorlax near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, or the Venusaur hanging out in the chamber of the Jefferson Memorial, but remember that there are places of solemn reflection here at the National Mall where playing Pokemon just isn’t appropriate.”
Authorities across the region are also broadcasting basic safety tips for people using the app, mostly reminders to be aware or your surroundings and to sometimes look up from your screen to make sure a bus is not about to hit you.
“When you are out and about, you just have to be aware of your surroundings,” Rick Goodale, an officer at the Montgomery County Police Department, told Fox 5. “If you are so focused on the phone, you might not realize you are about to walk into traffic.”
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