Playing Pokemon Go? Calgary police issue safety reminder

If you really do have to catch them all, Calgary police would like to remind you to at least pay attention to your surroundings while playing Pokemon Go.

There were 10 calls over the weekend related to the augmented-reality game

Const. Mark Smith poses with his captured Psyduck. The police are asking Pokemon Go players to be aware of their surroundings while playing the game. (Calgary Police Service/Facebook)

If you really do have to catch them all, Calgary police would like to remind you to at least pay attention to your surroundings while playing Pokemon Go.

Rather than offer that seemingly obvious advice with a heavy sigh, as many are likely tempted to do, the police service managed to inject a bit of levity while dishing their advice — saying they were on the hunt for two suspicious characters and had managed to take one Psyduck into custody, while still hunting for a Weedle. 

That said, they also wanted players to avoid things like jaywalking, trespassing, or driving while trying to capture the digital creatures.

The augmented-reality game recently launched in Canada. It sends players into the real world to search for the mythical digital pocket monsters known as Pokemon, who appear onscreen when users hold up their smartphones in various locations at various times of the day.

'Just trying to catch a Pikachu or a Shaman'

Const. Mark Smith, a digital communications officer with the Calgary police, said they responded to 10 Pokemon-related calls over the weekend. 

"A lot of them range from kind of suspicious persons, Pokemon catchers out around midnight, two o'clock and heading down alleys and things like that," he said. "So we get phone calls from neighbours basically saying, 'Look, there's people wandering around, can you go check them out?'

"It turned out that they weren't looking for trouble, they were just trying to catch a Pikachu or a Shamam."

Smith said it's great that people are outside getting fresh air, but they don't want people getting hit by cars or ending up in dangerous situations. 

Danger zones

He said the police don't have any particular areas they're concerned about, dangerous zones where Pokemons might be found, but mostly because the game is still so new. 

"We kind of remind people to use common sense. If you're going into dark areas or anything like that, again just be very aware of who's around," said Smith.

He said there is the possibility that others would use the game for nefarious reasons.

"In the game you have a system where you can set baits or lures and then you get a whole bunch of Pokemon start popping up around that area. So again, there's always the possibility, and I haven't seen it happen here in Calgary, but again it's always a possibility that there could be people that could take advantage of that so they could get people to come."

Weedle on the loose

So if there happen to be a lot of rare Pokemon hanging around the Hell's Angels clubhouse, it might be a good idea to let them stay there.

"Yes, that would probably be an advisable thing," Smith agreed.

And as for that Weedle the cops were hunting? Smith said he caught one, but he's not yet sure it's the suspect in question.