Like that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when Riker got the crew of the Enterprise addicted to a new virtual reality game, Pokémon Go is a game that is taking over.

OK, so maybe it's not as bad as that, but Pokémon Go is causing quite a stir. So much so that the Watertown, South Dakota Police Department posted on Facebook a helpful explanation of the game and some helpful tips and tricks for players. It's real, relevant information presented with a bit of sweet humor.

In simple terms, Pokémon Go uses your phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon "appear" around you (on your phone screen) so you can go and catch them. As you move around, different and more types of Pokémon will appear depending on where you are and what time it is. The idea is to encourage you to travel around the real world to catch Pokémon in the game. The game is the first of its kind and surely won’t be the last.

Law Enforcement across the country are responding to “Pokemon” calls at an increasing rate. Some of the calls for service include trespassing, suspicious activity, attempted kidnappings, and robberies. As with anything, predators are using the app to lure their victims.

The Watertown Police Department wants to give you some tips on staying safe and out of trouble:
• Communicate with your family, let them know where you plan on going and what time you will expect to be home. Tell your kids about “stranger danger” because the app may bring strangers together in real life.
• “I was collecting Pokemon” is not a legal defense against a charge of trespassing, so be sure that you have permission to enter an area or building. Do not go onto private property, dark areas, or places you wouldn’t normally go if you weren’t playing the game.
• Parks close at 11 PM in the City of Watertown. Cemeteries are private property and close at night. Respect business owners and be courteous.
• If you are using the app in a public place, stay alert to what is going on around you, and who is around you. Be aware of surroundings and/or suspicious persons.
• Play the game with friends, not alone. It’s easier and safer to “catch em’ all” if you are in a group.
• Don’t run into trees, walls, things that are attached to the ground. It hurts.
• Do not drive while manipulating an electronic device. Distracted driving is dangerous and illegal.

The Police Department is not a PokeGym or a place to catch rare Pokemon. Please do not loiter anywhere around the building as it is an Officer safety issue. -Watertown PD


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