SFPD Issues Pokémon Go Safety Tips, Like 'Do Not Run Into Trees'

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Medical students Jag Chilana and Scott Kobner play Pokemon Go on their smartphones in New York City, where they are hopefully not about to walk into trees or get hit by cars. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

I'm not sure if you guys have heard about this -- it seems like maybe it's been covered a few other places? -- but there's a game that many people are currently playing called Pokémon Go.

Most of these people are having a very nice time. As Gabe Meline explored yesterday, players are leaving the house at times when they might not otherwise, meeting new friends, and exploring their neighborhoods. And some people are acting like goddamn idiots.

In an attempt to stave off said idiocy (and perhaps limit the number of Pokémon related injuries and accidents to which they must respond), the San Francisco Police Department issued some official safety guidelines this week for Pokémon enthusiasts, as shared by the Bayview Station's social media accounts.

You can view all of these tips in a document here, along with a cute lo-fi graphic that it's kinda fun to imagine a police officer spending time cropping and pasting into a Google doc, especially while an investigative panel is issuing damning reports about pervasive and institutional racism across the SFPD.

In any event, here's the memo in full:

As the Pokemon Go fever hits the Streets of San Francisco, I wanted to take a few minutes to remind you/your kids of some simple safety tips.  So as you battle, train, and capture your Pokemon - just remember you’re still in the real world!   Other law enforcement agencies throughout the world have already reported accidents, injuries, and string of robberies where suspects have set up fake ‘Poke-spots’.  

  • Know your surroundings and pay attention to where you are going/who is around you. Slow car paralleling a person on foot, might be a sign it’s a get-away car.    If you get the sense you are being followed or set-up for a robbery, head to a lighted area with people around.  

  • Watch where you are going, please don’t look down at your phone while crossing streets, getting off buses, or even while walking.  Obey traffic laws, please.

  • Do not run into trees, meters, and things that are attached to the sidewalk; they hurt.

  • Do not drive or ride your bike / skateboard / hipster techie device while interacting with the app.  

  • Know where your kids are going when playing with the app, set limits on where they can go, so they don’t keep going trying to get that Pokemon.  

  • Tell your kids about stranger-danger because the app may bring strangers together in real life at ‘pokestops’.  

  • Do not go onto private property, dark alleys, or areas that you usually would not go if you weren’t playing the game.  

    Be Safe, Enjoy!

    Captain Vaswani

    Bayview Police Station,  San Francisco Police

And there you have it, folks. You might note that most of these tips are in fact just basic common sense for continuing to be an alive person in a city, but it sure is fun to reframe them as safety tips for Pokémon Go!


Have fun out there, and remember: You're still in the real world. Whatever that means anymore.