In less than a week, according to Tech Crunch, Pokémon Go has surpassed the number of people using Twitter and exceeds the number of daily interactions with Facebook. This number does not even include the number of users in Europe and Japan where the game has not yet been released. Police have asked Pokémon GO users to help solve break-ins, find dead bodies and it has been used by both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who have weighed in on the issue. It is even being reported that it is helping people that suffer with anxiety and depression.
However, in spite of the enormous popularity of the game, not all people are happy with its release. The game, which establishes “gyms” to train your Pokémon and checkpoints in which users can obtain the much needed pokeballs, has created a flood of new traffic into residential areas, including homeowners associations. Many of the check points are located within public parks, including community common areas. The gyms are also located in private back yard areas. (I am one of the lucky ones; the gym is across the street from my house, so I don’t need to travel far!)
With users walking or driving by at all hours of the day, including very early hours of the morning, the game has created a nuisance situation with users trespassing into private yards to collect the much coveted Pokémon.
So what is an association to do? First, stay calm, there were bound to be some glitches in the locations of gyms, checkpoints and nodes. As users commence working through the game, they will learn the rules of common courtesy. Spectrum Community Management has the following suggestions:
- Stay safe out there. If you are chasing Pokémon in your community, be aware of your neighbors and your surroundings.
- Keep a heads-up for those who may not be paying attention.
- Send an email: let your homeowners know what they may be witnessing and remind them of the association’s safety guidelines.
- If you are in doubt about suspicious activity, a call to the police is always a safe bet; meaning stay alert and report suspicious activities in the community. Remember the police can only act upon what they know.
Most importantly, remember, players are out there having fun, catching Pokémon and spending time together. By showing a little tolerance and staying alert both users and homeowners alike will survive this onslaught of trainers and Pokémon alike.