Video game raises new questions about crime and reality

Many an Arizona resident enjoys playing a good video game now and then. It can be a great means of entertainment and even relief from the stress of a long day. Most people would not be concerned that the simple act of playing a video game could lead them to being charged with a crime but that is exactly what a new game may make possible.

Introduced in early July, a new game blurs the lines between what is in the game and what is real. The goal of the game is to catch a particular character. People who play the game are referred to as trainers. They practice the skills necessary to find and nab the desired character. While this all sound like innocent fun, the challenge is that people may be encouraged to catch the character in places or in ways that could actually be criminal.

Tresspassing onto private property, for example, is a crime. Some reports indicate that people have trespassed in their quest to seek out the game’s character. The problem has gotten so bad that the Phoenix Police Department has issued tips and warnings to area residents about how to safely play this particular game. It is not known if anyone has officially been charged with a crime based upon actions taken while playing the game.

Situations like above make it all-too easy to see how even responsible, innocent people can end up facing criminal charges. When this happens, talking to an attorney may be helpful in understanding how to respond and move forward.

Source: Arizona Central, “Phoenix police: Pokemon Go is no excuse to trespass,” Kaila White, July 11, 2016