Have Pokémon Invaded Your District?

Aug 2016 22 | Posted by liz.smith

Have you noticed a sharp increase of people in your district walking around strangely staring in their phones?  Then you may be the victim of Niantic, Inc.’s latest game, Pokémon Go.  Pokémon Go is similar to the original Pokémon game. You look for the critters called Pokémon, catch them by hitting them with a ball in your phone, train them and battle with them. What's different here is that it uses the real world in your game experience. Specifically, the game uses your phone's GPS sensors to track where you are, and makes use of a stylized Google map on your phone as the primary game board. Your character moves in the game as you walk around in real life.  This is why they call it an “augmented” reality game. In order to interact with the game's characters, you need to actually walk to a particular place, like in the real world.   This is where your district comes in.

The makers of the game placed these locations called “PokéStops” and “Pokegyms” in all types of places usually associated with a public attraction like a historical marker, monument, or building.  Unfortunately, while the game has been a great motivator in getting people off their couch and out to public places, it has had several negative unintended consequences.  Trespassing after hours, vandalism, and disregard for the use and enjoyment of the area (think cemeteries) are just some.  One cemetery district that has had issues of trespassing at night hired a part time security patrol for after hours.  The district also changed the cemetery’s hours from 8:00 am until dusk to 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and posted signs clearly indicating the closing time.  The district was also located in a very rural area such that it didn’t have gates.  They received an estimate to install gates for a cost of $80,000.   Luckily, Niantic, Inc. has been receptive to removing PokéStops and Pokegyms from their game upon request. 

If you have had similar issues, you can request the location be removed by going online to: 

https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=341148

Be as informative as possible, and provide as much information that shows the extent of the problem.  You can even attach invoices, photos of damages, and additional statements.  If they do not remove your location, than a more formal demand letter may be needed.