There has been no shortage of reports about the dangers of Pokemon GO since Niantic released the mobile game last summer. Players have found themselves in all sorts of trouble, including crashing their vehicles while driving and trying to play the game. But the popularity of the mobile title has also given opportunistic criminals a chance to prey on victims who are just out and about trying to catch 'em all.
One such victim was Calvin Riley, a 20-year old pitcher for the Delta College Mustangs who was fatally shot while playing Pokemon GO at the Aquatic Park in San Francisco last year. Desperate for information that will put his killer behind bars, this week the city of San Francisco pledged $50,000 for anyone who can offer tips, matching the $50,000 figure which has been offered by Riley's family since February. The total reward is now $110,000, including the $10,000 that is also being offered by the United States Park Police, the body that is investigating the murder.
Detectives on the case are looking for a "dark 2006 to 2009 Audi A3 Wagon and a white 2013 four-door Hyundai Sonata," that may be connected to the crime. Although the U.S Park Police has not yet found a motive for Riley's murder, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier noted how it has "ripped the family apart" and stated that "we will not allow it to become a cold case."
With the Pokemon GO Gym update bringing lapsed players to the game, and with the summer sun also getting people out and about, criminals will use this to their advantage. But as Speier notes, "young adult children who make their way around the city doing innocent activities — just doing normal, everyday activities — should not be in fear of being gunned down by a person and then have the crime go unsolved. It’s just wrong."
Having seen armed robberies committed against Pokemon GO players who have been visiting the game's many PokeStops and Gyms, police forces are surely hip to advantageous criminals. At the height of the game's popularity, police departments also warned players and encouraged them to be aware of their surroundings which would help players avoid trouble (in the case that it is avoidable.) Hopefully this will be enough so that this year, the majority of Pokemon GO players can enjoy the game safely and without incident.
Pokemon GO is available on iOS and Android.