Police respond to complaints following new Pokémon Go game

Police respond to complaints following new Pokémon Go game
Philip Fyock plays Pokemon Go in the parking lot across from Lynn Menges' home (Source: Live 5)
Philip Fyock plays Pokemon Go in the parking lot across from Lynn Menges' home (Source: Live 5)
Screenshot of Pokemon Go warns users to be careful (Source: Live 5)
Screenshot of Pokemon Go warns users to be careful (Source: Live 5)

HANAHAN, SC (WCSC) - There's a new cell phone game that's catching everyone's attention for both the good and the bad.

Pokémon Go was released to the general public June 6, and now it's being downloaded by the thousands.

Niantic, the company who created the game, calls it the world's "first real world gaming platform" exploiting the capabilities of smartphones and location technology.

The virtual reality game has drawn some concerns though.

"Oh yeah, I haven't slept since Wednesday," said Lynn Menges, of Hanahan.

Menges said people have been gathering at the church across from her home during the late night hours for several days, keeping her up all night.

"The cars go all hours of the night, it's not a couple hour social thing," she said.

Incident reports from Hanahan Police show units responded multiple times to her home in reference to complaints of suspicious activity.

According to the report, Menges told officers that multiple subject and vehicles had been observed entering the church parking lot across from her residence.

"It started at the church and then it trickles over here [on to my property]," she said Monday.

Menges added some people have come in to her backyard trying to catch all the Pokémon in the game.

"A lot of people think it's more fun to actually go to that," said Philip Fyock, who played the game near Menges' home. "It's more of the, oh the Pokémon is back here I want to actually go and get it! I'm not really the guy to hop in someone's backyard [though]."

The incident report states each time a unit responded, no subjects or vehicles were located with the exception of one occasion.

"I met with the male subject and he advised that he and a group of friends had been playing an iPhone game called Pokémon Go in which certain buildings in the city had been identified by the address," the officer wrote.

The report adds when the officer downloaded the game to see for himself, he noticed in order to receive the points for the location you had to be close enough to gain the point, which would explain the amount of traffic Menges reported.

According to the incident report, Menges told police the church is private property and that she was in fear for her safety with the extra traffic.

"You don't know who the one is that's really not there to play the game," she said.

Now with word spreading about the game, Menges hopes parents will tell their kids to be more respectful when playing.

"Nobody knew how big this was going to go, and how far out of control it was going to go," she said. "I think parents are on high alert now."

The game was created for "users all around the world to have fun, socialize, and get more fit as they play and explore."

Each user creates an avatar, then goes to different locations trying to catch as many Pokémon as possible, as well as battling other users.

"We were walking on the [Folly Beach} pier and I heard someone say look at my Pokémon," said Pricilla Svendsen.

Svendsen said she hasn't read a lot about the game, but based on what she's heard, she has some concerns for her three children who are old enough to play the game.

"At this point we're very cautious, so we would say no [to letting them play," she said. "We're open minded, we don't want to shelter our children, but at the same time we want to keep them safe [especially when walking around]."

"I am concerned about safety in a society where anything is compromised," said Liz McNea, who has three children. "Your bank account… your location."

The game has made headlines across the country, some good and some bad.

"The more advanced we get in technology, the more people are going to take advantage and use that for ill means," McNea said.

"I probably will carry around a pocketknife or so," Fyock added. "Usually I'm in a pretty populated area [when I play]."

Fyock added he has enjoyed the game so far and is excited to see what else comes out in the future.

The game is officially available on both the App Store and Google Play in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. It will be available in other countries around the world in the days ahead.

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