RCMP offer safety tips for Pokemon GO; charities try to connect with players | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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RCMP offer safety tips for Pokemon GO; charities try to connect with players

FILE PHOTO - In this Tuesday, July 12, 2016 file photo, Pokemon Go players Ana Valentina Ojeda, right, and Jaeden Valdespino, second from right, check their smartphones as they look for Pokemon at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File
July 19, 2016 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - While some charities are trying to take advantage of the Pokemon GO craze, the RCMP is warning players about the possible safety risks associated with playing the game.

The popular video game is like a treasure hunt. Players try to find animated characters superimposed on the real world through the app and the camera on their smartphones. Pokemon Go officially launched in Canada on Sunday.

If you're playing the game with a large group of people, don't be surprised if police are interested in what you're up to.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shelkie says police haven't had any issues with the game so far, but it's routine for officers to check on what large groups of people are doing in public places. This comes after users in a Facebook group have noticed an increased police presence in parks and other public places.

Shelkie warns players to put their safety first.

"Be aware of your surroundings," she says. "Don't be so engrossed in your phone screen that you don't know where you're walking."

Police advise players to not play in the dark, play with a partner or group, and know who you're meeting up with.

"People are planning online to meet with strangers who are playing this game," Shelkie says. "You're opening yourself up to... robberies and assaults."

While safety is top of mind for police, the Kamloops SPCA is hoping to take advantage of the video game to recruit more volunteers.

In a post to the organization's Facebook page, the SPCA is asking for Pokemon trainers to walk shelter dogs while getting in their needed kilometres to hatch eggs.

"We also know that it can be a challenge to get your steps in... but that's where our dogs would like to help," the Facebook post reads. "Take up dog walking for your local animal shelter and get to hatching those rare Pokemon in no time."

Meanwhile, the people behind ResQwalk are encouraging Pokemon Go players to dowload their app. By using the app, donations can be made to an animal shelter of your choice when you walk a certain distance.

"When you're out and about catching nearby Pokemon, don't forget to start the #ResQwalk app," the company says in a Facebook post. "While you're racking up XP in Pokemon Go, you'll also be logging steps for your favorite animal charity."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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