Police to Alaska Pokemon Go trainers: Heads up for real moose & bears

Published: Jul. 11, 2016 at 10:28 PM AKDT
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For video game enthusiasts, it’s not uncommon to find themselves stuck indoors, even on the nicest days. But Anchorage residents are utilizing the augmented reality technology of Pokemon Go, and it’s bringing a community of gamers closer together.

Since its release on July 7, the free cell phone app Pokemon Go has lured hundreds Alaskans into Downtown Anchorage. The game uses GPS technology, internet connectivity and cell phone cameras to allow players to find and catch Pokemon scattered around streets and parking lots in real-time.

The big difference: the game can't be successfully played at home. Gamers must walk the city to become a better Pokemon trainer.

“It definitely has brought me out, it's brought a lot of people out, and it's also forced me to socialize with people,” said resident Brance Pena “I usually try to keep to myself, but when people see you with your head in your phone, they know [you’re playing] Pokemon Go and come talk to you.”

According to multiple trainers downtown, Town Square has become a hot spot for rare Pokemon. The crowd of Pokemon enthusiasts is a new sight compared to the homeless residents who are typically filling the park.

“I'm excited to see a lot of people who are fans,” said Pokemon player Tor Rouzan. “I don't feel alone anymore, so I get to be myself.”

A Pokemon Go player can be spotted as a person aimlessly wandering the streets with their head staring at their phone. Anchorage Police Department is warning residents to be careful while navigating the game in public.

“Not only do people need to make sure they don't walk into traffic or into a fixed object, we live in Alaska. This means we have wildlife. People walking around need to be looking up in case they come across a bear or moose,” wrote APD spokesperson Renee Oistad.

Some military bases across the country, as well as the National Weather Service office in Anchorage, are also warning residents to not trespass into property while catching Pokemon.

A sign outside the Anchorage NWS office states, “Pikachu reminds you that Pokemon trainers must not trespass on federal property.”