Colorado is hardly exempt from the Pokémon Go craze — and plenty of local business operators are probably happy that the new app, which allows Pokémon hunters to search for prized mini-monsters such as Charizard and Squirtle in real-world locations with help from their phone's GPS system, are bringing people to their doorsteps.
Including the folks who run these five marijuana dispensaries near Denver Pokéstops.
But the Aurora Police Department has a message to underage Pokémon Go fanatics: If we catch you in city parks after hours, we may give you a ticket.
And on top of that, we'll call your mom and dad, too.
The APD posted the following notice on its Facebook page at the unlikely hour of 11 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13:
IT'S 11:00 P.M. JUVENILE CURFEW IS NOW IN EFFECT! PARKS ARE CLOSED! #SaferAurora #PokémonGo
With the recent popularity about Pokémon Go we wanted to remind our residents, especially our teen aged ones, that there is a juvenile curfew in the city of Aurora. The curfew starts at 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. All neighborhood parks close at 11:00 p.m. and some open space areas and trails close earlier in the evening (check signs for posted park hours).
Accompanying the post was the following graphic:
What prompted this warning? According to Sergeant Chris Amsler, public information officer for the Aurora Police Department, "Someone tweeted the city on their Twitter account and made a complaint about kids in one of our parks after hours," and given reports about late-night Pokémon Go hunts flooding in from across the country, "we wanted to be proactive."
In so doing, the APD hopes to avoid being featured in Pokémon Go headlines of the embarrassing sort — like the arrest of two Pokémon hunters for hopping the fence at the Toronto Zoo at 2:30 a.m., or the two dudes who took a 75-foot tumble in San Diego because they were paying more attention to their phones than the cliff they walked off. And that's not to mention complaints from operators of the Holocaust Museum and the Auschwitz Memorial about disruptions from clueless monster trackers.
Thus far, the popularity of Pokémon Go hasn't led to a huge rise in the number of Aurora curfew violations. PIO Amsler says that only two curfew tickets were handed out between July 7, the day after the app was released, and July 13. That compares to one curfew citation between June 13 and 27 — and Amsler doesn't know if the latest tickets "are Pokémon-related."
As for the curfew, Amsler says, "It's been in place for the whole fifteen years I've been with the department, and years before that. The whole purpose is to keep teens off the streets without adult supervision — to make sure they're not getting into trouble. And as you can see by our low ticket numbers, we typically try to treat these situations with a warning. Instead of issuing a summons, we call their parents to pick them up."
Is finding Charizard and Squirtle really worth that? Here's a video about the Pokémon Go players who fell off that San Diego cliff.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.