City says Poke­mon Go for it – but play safely

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MATTHEW VAN DONGEN mvan­don­gen@thes­pec.com 905-526-3241 | @Mat­tatthes­pec

The city wants you to en­joy the Poke­mon Go phe­nom­ena — but not so much that you ab­sent-mind­edly walk in front of a car or off a cliff.

Po­lice said they re­ceived a re­port of a teenaged male cy­clist who may have been “bumped” by a ve­hi­cle in the lower city Tues­day af­ter­noon while fo­cus­ing on the hunt for Poke­mon-re­lated mon­sters.

No other de­tails were im­me­di­ately avail­able about the po­ten­tially painful in­ter­sec­tion of re­al­ity and aug­mented re­al­ity.

But given the ob­vi­ous pop­u­lar­ity of the smart­phone-pow­ered game, both po­lice and city of­fi­cials are ask­ing play­ers to en­joy Poke­mon Go re­spon­si­bly.

Hamil­ton po­lice spokesper­son Const. Asuf Khokhar noted of­fi­cers spent some time learn­ing about the game from fans at Gage Park this week.

He said po­lice have not recorded any ex­am­ples of play­ers be­ing in­jured or ac­cused of tres­pass­ing “but we would like to re­mind all to keep their heads up.”

City Hall — a pop­u­lar Poke­mon gath­er­ing place, even at 3 a.m. — has also is­sued a set of sug­ges­tions on how to ex­plore Hamil­ton within the game, with­out ven­tur­ing out of line.

On Twit­ter, the city sug­gests ex­plor­ing lo­cal shops (ahem, dur­ing busi­ness hours), the wa­ter­front, parks and mu­seum. But do it on foot, smart­phone users, rather than by bike or in the car.

In a “Don’t Go” sec­tion of its Twit­ter guide, the city lists busy streets, ceme­ter­ies, fu­neral homes, dark al­leys and “bod­ies of wa­ter,” as lo­ca­tions to avoid.

It also ad­vises against ven­tur­ing off-trail. Not spe­cific enough? “Avoid tram­pling plants, poi­sonous species and cliffs,” the guide help­fully elab­o­rates.

Else­where on­line, game users are cheer­fully shar­ing sto­ries about lo­cal Poke­mon ad­ven­tures that may or may not be true.

One player on Red­dit de­scribes ven­tur­ing into an aban­doned build­ing with his Poke­mon-play­ing girl­friend and ac­ci­den­tally be­com­ing per­sons of in­ter­est in a nearby truck theft in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The story ends with of­fi­cers and the cou­ple “jok­ing” about al­most get­ting ar­rested for play­ing Poke­mon Go. The Spec­ta­tor re­lated the story to po­lice, but Khokhar could only say at the time a search turned up no “calls or is­sues” re­lated to the game.

The city also rec­om­mends against Poke­mon-ing around on pri­vate prop­erty, in case you’ve been eye­ing your own nearby aban­doned build­ing.

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