No doubt you’ve seen them: scores of people with their smartphones out as they walk in parks, sidewalks and streets. Such is the world of Pokemon Go.
The augmented reality game operates by taking real world locations and randomly stocking them with digital monsters and other items, which players can see on their smartphones. Players can “catch” these monsters and train them for combat at “gyms.” At designated “Pokestops,” players can collect valuable items for use in the game. This means your favorite restaurant, your local park or any place could potentially be sites where Pokemon Go players gather.
While Pokemon Go and other games like it are typically harmless fun, they have unwittingly placed some bystanders in the crosshairs of law enforcement. This is especially true for registered sex offenders, who are required to stay away from places where children gather.
Beware: Pokestops Attract Minors
In San Luis Obispo, a Pokestop was located at Sunny Acres, the sober-living facility where persons with addictions and registered sex offenders receive treatment. This meant a digital marker was placed in a location that would potentially attract children to the home of registered sex offenders, many of whom have probation or parole conditions requiring them to live a certain distance from places where children gather.
In 2006, California’s voters passed Jessica’s Law, an initiative restricting all registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, regardless of whether their crime was against a minor. Recently, the California Supreme Court narrowed that law because suitable housing was virtually impossible to find for many sex offenders – now parole and probation officers can review housing situations for sex offenders on a case-by-case basis.1
However, with Pokestops appearing on a digital map of real-world locations, registered sex offenders potentially face a threat to their liberty that is beyond their control. If you are a registered sex offender, what can you do to prevent this from happening to you?
Stay Away from Location-Based Games
If you are a registered sex offender, one thing that is within your control is whether you decide to play games like Pokemon Go. By avoiding playing these games, you lessen the chance of traveling to places where there are likely to be a lot of minors.
There are also ways to find out where Pokestops and gyms are without playing the game. Pokemon Go is based on the maps that its creator, Niantic, used to create another popular augmented reality game, Ingress. The maps for Ingress are available on multiple websites. Checking those maps can help you find where potential Pokemon Go hotspots may be so that you can stay clear of those locations.2
Contact the Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you have been accused of violating probation or failing to meet the requirements of sex offender registration, you should consider taking a proactive approach. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately who can help you fight these allegations.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled team of attorneys has been successfully fighting for the rights of our clients for over 35 years. Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you, too.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance and Ventura, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
1. See, In re Taylor, 290 P.3d 1171 (Cal. 2013). href=”#ref1″>↩
2. Sarah Jacobsson Purwal, “Use this map to find PokeStops and Gym locations,” CNET.com, July 28, 2016, available at http://www.cnet.com/how-to/use-this-map-to-find-pokestops-and-gym-locations/ href=”#ref2″>↩