Austin Police Warn Citizenry About Dangers of Pokémon Go

“Don’t run into trees.”

Senior Public Information Officer Destiny Winston took to the podium today at 2:30pm today to discuss the dangers in playing app of the moment, Pokémon Go.

This is pretty much a worst-case scenario.

Putting forth commonsense practices for survival in the modern world, Winston reminded players to “first and foremost watch where you’re going.” More specifically, “Don’t run into trees, parking meters, or anything attached to the sidewalks.”

Parents were encouraged to set limits on where their kids can go and to remind them about stranger danger.

Both adults and kids were encouraged not to sneak around police stations, fire stations, or emergency vehicles. We assume that stands even if there’s an incredibly rare Pokémon just around the corner.

Winston didn’t go into detail but confirmed that there had been 911 calls made in relation to the app.

When asked about a person playing the game at a bus station in South Austin who was robbed at gunpoint early this morning, Winston said, “Anytime that you’re fixated on something else … you can become an easy target for criminals.”

She ended with a word of caution: “Remember the real world is still around you.”

The celebrated, loathed, lighthearted, yet controversial app has sent packs of players around their neighborhoods and beyond hoping to find elusive Pokémon to add to their Pokédex. The augmented reality game looks a bit surreal to the uninitiated, but to the millions playing the game it’s an obsession. How else can you explain people walking around outside in the blazing Texas heat? It’s also the app that launched a thousand think-pieces on its merits. Is it getting kids outdoors and bonding with complete strangers, or is it another thing sucking us into our phones and infantilizing a generation? Media outlets have flooded social media feeds with anything that can possibly put the word Pokémon in the headline (we realize we’re the pot calling the kettle black), whether it’s newsworthy or barely related to the game itself.

Whatever your take on Pokémon Go, stay safe out there in the real world and the Pokéworld on your phone. If you find yourself running into trees, it might be time to take a break.

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