Don't walk into traffic, Edmonton police warn Pokemon crowd

It doesn't matter if there is a Dragonite, Drowsy, or Onix in the middle of the road, it's a bad idea to walk into traffic, Edmonton police say.

‘Remember, you can’t catch 'em all if we catch you breaking the law’

Pokemon players flood the Griesbach neighbourhood. (CBC)

It doesn't matter if there is a Dragonite, Jynx or Onix in the middle of the road, it's a bad idea to walk into traffic.

That's what the Edmonton Police Service is telling Pokemon Go players.

City police said they have received numerous reports relating to Pokemon Go players over the last week.

"Trainers have been seen walking into traffic and other people, as they search for the next gym or pokestop," police said in a news release Thursday.

'Trainers have been seen walking into traffic and other people, as they search for the next gym or pokestop' - Edmonton Police Service

"The excitement surrounding the game has even prompted a number of citizen complaints, as Pokemon trainers trek through neighbourhoods and community parks at all hours."

The augmented reality game, released in Canada on July 17, has taken the world by storm. It is the most popular phone app in history. In recent days it has seen more user engagement than Facebook. 

The game is played by walking around the city in real life while virtually tracking Pokemon, to catch and travelling to landmarks that have been designated as pokestops or gyms.

Respect residents

Police said it's a terrible idea to play the game while driving, but they also have some warnings for players not behind the wheel. 

It is not just public areas such as the legislature and Churchill Square that are being swarmed. Some residential neighbourhoods, such as Griesbach, are seeing a lot of Pokemon players.

"We've received a number of complaints from various communities that are unknowingly saturated in pokestops," said Const. Hunter Robinz. "We want to remind citizens that they need to be respectful of the noise in neighbourhoods and public spaces, specifically during the evening hours."

Robinz said police are responding to more calls of players being mistaken for suspicious people around homes.

​"As a local enforcement agency we have to take those seriously," he said.

"At the time of the call, they don't know if they're doing something or just having fun. We have to take the time and take those calls seriously from the get go.

But just as there are laws about being in certain public areas at certain times of the night, there are laws about being on someone else's property, Robinz said.

"Playing pokemon Go is not an excuse to break the law."

EPS is happy Edmontonians are getting outside but want to remind players that the spaces are for "Pokemon trainers and non-players alike."

"The message is simple — have fun but stay safe," said Robinz. "Remember, you can't catch 'em all if we catch you breaking the law."

EPS safety tips for Pokemon trainers

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Do not play while operating a vehicle, bike or any other means of transportation
  • Don't travel into isolated areas alone
  • Keep off private properties and be respectful when entering businesses
  • Wear reflective clothing when playing at night
  • Be mindful of noise levels in neighbourhoods and other public spaces