By Daniel Steele
Dozens of bizarre and unfortunate incidents have occurred to those merely on the hunt for Pokemon. The wildly popular app Pokemon Go, which lets users capture and collect Pokemon by searching for them in the real world, has led to the discovery and/or act of crimes both big and small.
In July, Shayla Wiggins, 19, from Wyoming found a dead man floating face down in the river near her house, police stated it was likely a suicide. A month later, on the other side of the world another body was found. A man noticed a body under a small pier on August 7 in Singapore while out hunting for Pokemon.
“Before this I read news of things that happened overseas, such as people trespassing while playing the game, getting robbed, and finding dead bodies,” said Noor Azmi in an article for 'Tech in Asia' after finding the body under a small pier in Singapore. “I did not think it will happen in Singapore and to myself.”
One of the incidents Azmi may have read about was the robbery of Pokemon players in a secluded Missouri parking lot on July 10. Police found the four perpetrators discarding a handgun from a black BMW after using the app's geolocation to lure unsuspecting players. The four teens, aged 16 to 19, were charged with first degree robbery.
The GPS, along with the augmented reality feature of the app that lets users see Pokemon in the real world, has made it easy for people to neglect their surroundings – and usually for the worst. Two of multiple car crashes occurred last month due to the app, where one man crashed into a school building in Victoria, Australia and another into a tree in Auburn, NY.
In another tree-related incident, a New Jersey woman called the police after getting stuck in one. The woman, whose name was not revealed out of embarrassment, climbed too high up the tree while attempting to catch a Pokemon.
Despite these morbid and/or troubling stories, most users have used the game as an excuse to go on walks, meet people and discover new things in their cities. The exploratory nature of the app has encouraged one Chaffey student, Ethan Coble, Computer Information Systems major, to be more active.
“When I first started playing it I actually went outside a bit more often. I’d take Jake for walks every now and then and when I’d run around the loop I’d stop at that Mormon church on the corner because it’s the closest pokestop to us,” he said.
Popular youtuber Gavin Free said on the Rooster Teeth Podcast, “The pokestop thing is really cool if you’re looking for them. It makes you notice stuff in the world you’ve never seen. I was in LA in an Uber and I saw there was one coming up and I spun it around and was like ‘Hey, it’s the Banksy art. Oh that’s Banksy? That’s cool.’”
This encouragement for exploration and discovery can also be a helpful tool for first-time students unfamiliar with Chaffey's campus and even act as an ice-breaker between those starting the school year alone. Those on the hunt for their next Pokemon can rest assured their will be many more on campus to join them in the adventure.