ARAB, Ala. -- It's the game that has millions looking at the world through their smartphones, but Pokemon Go can also get distracting, which can bring the fantasy-merged world crashing back to reality.
Since Wednesday the Pokemon Go mobile game has people trying to "catch 'em all." It features characters from the popular television series and Nintendo video games. The game that spans generations of players and merges fantasy with reality can get also get distracting, making it easy to get hurt if the player isn't paying attention.
"It can be dangerous if it's used improperly," Arab Police Assistant Chief Shane Washburn says.
Washburn says his agency doesn't mind if players try to catch the digital creatures at public places -- some players have scoured the police department parking lot already -- as long as they don't disrupt anything, and most importantly, pay attention to their surroundings, especially in busy areas. "Some of these Pokemon creatures may be in the roadway and intersections or things like that, and you have traffic that is coming through that intersection," Washburn says.
There has also been an increase of people playing while driving. "I would say that this is actually more dangerous than texting," Washburn says, "With texting most of the time people are looking at the phone, looking at the road, which is dangerous in itself, but with this game what I've seen is more individuals are focusing more on the game than their surroundings."
Try to catch 'em all, but do so safely. "It's a good way for people to get out, and get active, and be social, as long as it's used in the proper perimeters it's made for," Washburn says.
Arab Police want to remind players that while they might find Pokemon at public places like the police department, it's not always necessary to go inside.