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Pokémon Go Creates Threats for Users

Mark Mandell, Esq.

Pokémon Go is the latest craze to hit the US since the original Pokémon games were released for Game Boys in 1998. In the late 1990s, every kid dreamed of being a real life Pokémon master. Pokémon Go may not be exactly what people desired, but it is as close as gamers have gotten thus far.

Users are forced to travel to specific landmarks and destinations in order to catch Pokémon or beat gyms. Also, game developers have inserted "Pokéstops" that users go to in order to get items to help them on their quest. Although the game has skyrocketed in downloads and is now the number one app of all time, problems exist with the nature of the game.

In order to have a true chance to catch a Pokémon, a user must be moving at less than 20 mph. The problem is that if an individual is driving less than 20 mph, the GPS system on the app reads them as walking. This has led to many lethargic individuals choosing to attempt to catch Pokémon while they drive at slow speeds. As one can imagine, the game is very intensive and requires a user to be essentially staring at their phones.

Police stations throughout the US have already issued statements encouraging people to play the game but not to do so while driving. With the laws that exist today around texting and driving, it is clear that law makers and officers do not want people looking at their phones while driving because of the hazards it creates. Pokémon Go simply creates another opportunity for a driver to take their eye of the road and cause an accident. Driving isn't the only aspect of the app that is posing threats to users.

Although Pokéstops seem to be beneficial for Pokémon Go players, they have started to become a way for criminals to target victims. In the game, there is an item called a "lure module." When used at a Pokéstop, this module attracts Pokémon for a half hour. As expected, if users see this module in use, they will try to target the Pokéstop to gain a competitive advantage.

Criminals seem to be taking advantage of the function created by game developers. These delinquents have been able to lure individuals to spots of their choosing where they can mug and steal from the unsuspecting gamers. Four teens in Missouri have already been arrested for armed robbery after attracting their victims using the app. They are alleged to have robbed 10-11 individuals in the county.

Lures and Pokéstops have the effect of leading individuals where they don't want to be, but that isn't always a bad thing for the police. A Milford man biked his way to a local police station after noticing there was a gym located there. What the man happened to forget was that there was a warrant out for his arrest after he failed to report to his court date regarding a breaking and entering charge. After stating that the man had forgot about the warrant for his arrest, Milford Chief of Police Tom Lindberg stated, "Like I said, we don't catch the smart ones."

Unfortunately, if you are looking for a Pokéstop or any rare Pokémon, our law offices are not much help. Fortunately for you, if you are facing any legal trouble, including trouble resulting from Pokémon Go, we can help you out there! Contact Attorney Mark Mandell at (734) 552-1449 or by email: MMandell@fb-firm.com.

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