Article and photos courtesy of the Cadillac Police Department:
Pokemon Go has been taking the world by storm and is just as polarizing as any other current event in the news today. You either love it or hate it. There is no shortage of criticism though.
Some critics claim that the game is just burying peoples faces in their phones and now there are people wandering into traffic, driving while looking at their phones and even setting up robberies.
Chief Golnick and Officer Rork wanted to see first hand what all the hub-bub is about. And we were quite pleasantly surprised.
We toured the City Park and Lakefront Park and ran into a few dozen people playing the game. One group in particular was from the Evart area. Self proclaimed gamers that rarely left their consoles, find themselves hopping from town-to-town chasing the elusive Pokemon. We ran into people from Rockford, Falmouth and even further out, walking through OUR downtown and OUR City Park. When we asked if they would be here if it weren’t for the game, the answer was a quite resounding, “no.”
Because some of the criticisms are a legit concern for public safety, we asked about that. The common theme we found was that because the virtual world in the game is shared among everyone that plays, people work in groups. They load into a car, have a driver worry about the road while the passengers have their phones and navigate to the “Poke-stops” which are basically points of interest in our City. Once there, they get out on foot and check out the area. Some of our new friends even shared with us how they split up on foot and triangulate the location of the Pokemon and then converge when they finally find them.
The Mitchell State Park have had people purchasing recreational passports just to come in to battle in the “gym” that’s on the back of the property. Downtown restaurants have had people come in, sit down and have lunch, based solely on the fact they are a Poke-stop.
And one of the aspects of the game is unlocking “eggs” in the game by walking certain distances. Smaller eggs have smaller items that usually require you to walk 2k while some bigger items require you to walk 10k. So that explains why I have kids running circles around the Fountain. They’re unlocking their eggs!
So why do the Police care so much about this game? Lets take a look at what is going on here at its most basic level. We have people outside, walking around, getting exercise and enjoying our beautiful City. As the Crime Prevention Officer for the City, this is heaven! Crime Prevention relies a lot on activity support and natural surveillance. Huh? Basically, we want good eyes flooding the areas we love. We bring in the good people, it keeps out the bad. By playing the game and getting out in our parks, you are essentially fighting crime by creating an environment where crime cannot flourish.
With all of our Facebook news feeds being flooded with negativity and hate, we want to remind people that the things we see and hear are usually driven by a very small, albeit very loud, population of people. Don’t lose sight of the fact that we live in an amazing City with some amazing people. If it takes a game to disguise the fact that you are out interacting and exercising, so be it. But at the end of the day, the sun came up this morning, we have air in our lungs and there are people out there that care about you and me. So don’t be afraid of what you see on the news. Go out and enjoy your City and HAPPY HUNTING!!!!