Police, businesses raise concerns over popular game Pokemon Go

Police, businesses raise concerns over popular game Pokemon Go

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - The new game Pokemon Go has adults and children wandering the streets looking for hidden jewels to add to their virtual collection. However, some businesses and law enforcement are raising concerns over trespassing and safety.

On Thursday, at the Ascension Parish Council on Aging, Gwen Kling and her friends were putting a decades old knitting hobby to work for others who might need a touch of comfort.

"We give them to wheelchair patients in the nursing home, and we even donate them to the Council on Aging," Kling said.

The COA is packed most days, but executive director Darlene Schexnayder said lately they have been getting more foot traffic than they can handle.

"When I left here last night there were at least 25 people just wandering around," Schexnayder said.

Schexnayder said most of them are teens looking for virtual battle jewels in the new game Pokemon Go, a smart phone application that uses GPS to navigate gamers to find pocket monsters planted in public places.

"It's just odd, really," Schexnayder said.

Schexnayder said so many people have been circling the COA parking lot looking for pocket monsters, it has gotten dangerous.

"We had one who drove through and almost hit one of the workers here and because he was looking at his phone when he was driving through the parking lot," Schexnayder said.

Gonzales resident Monica Miles said she and her daughter were hit in their car on the way home by a distracted driver who was allegedly looking for Pokemon tokens.

"I am very fired up by it because I could have lost my life," Miles said.

"I have received numerous complaints since Tuesday of this week," Gonzales Police Sgt. Steve Nethken said.

Nethken said officers have even encountered Pokemon gamers in their own backyard.

"Here [a gamer] is just wandering inside the security perimeter of the police department. It's pretty easy to pick them out," Nethken said while describing police department surveillance video.

Nethken has a clue for players looking to collect there, you won't find what you are looking for on police department property.

"I'll show you where it is to tell everyone to go to that one spot to grab what they need to get to help them along so they can expedite their stay at the police department," Nethken said.

The Pokemon Go battle jewel near the Gonzales Police Department is located on East City Park Avenue above a speed limit/no parking sign.

Back at the COA, Schexnayder is writing a letter to Pokemon International requesting that they remove that location from its scavenger hunt. In the meantime, she hopes gamers will watch more carefully when they wander onto public property.

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