British Columbia

Police warn Vancouverites to stay safe while playing Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go may not be officially out in Canada yet, but it's already a phenomenon — so much so that Vancouver police are warning gamers to stay safe while playing.

Nintendo's smash-hit smartphone game sparks concerns of trespassing, stranger danger

Police are warning Vancouverites to stay safe while playing Pokémon Go. (Laura DaSilva/CBC)

Pokémon Go may not be officially out in Canada yet, but it's already a phenomenon — so much so that Vancouver police are warning gamers to stay safe while playing.

"Vancouver Police have received reports of large groups of people seen gathering in parks and on city streets and other public areas, at all hours of the day and night," reads a tongue-in-cheek press release from the VPD.

"Our initial investigation shows they are in pursuit of brightly coloured creatures that don't appear to be from our world."

The free smartphone game requires players to travel to real-world locations to catch monsters (Pokémon), collect items from Pokéstops and capture checkpoints, also known as gyms.

Tips from police

  • Since the game involves exploring in real life, police are calling on players — and parents of players — to stay aware of their surroundings.
  • Travel in groups, and younger children should tell parents or another adult where they're going.
  • Don't play while riding your bike, skateboard, scooter or while driving.
  • Don't go on or in private property.

The B.C. Better Business Bureau also issued a release outlining several concerns with the game. They warn players against downloading malware-infected versions of the game ahead of official app store availability.

The BBB also reports at least one instance of a private home being marked as an in-game Pokéstop, and urged players to avoid trespassing in their quest to catch them all — a concern also shared by the police.