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Technology / Cybersecurity

Police set Pokémon Go lures to catch criminals

The Pokémon Go craze is fast attracting users from different categories, with the US police being the latest ones to join in.

A police station in Virginia has invited “random citizens” to try and catch a super-rare Pokémon in their processing room.

Virginia’s Smithfield Police Department said in a post on social networking site Facebook: “The rarest Pokemon of all has been spotted in the Smithfield Police Department processing room: Ditto!”

“Since it so rare we can only allow a limited number of people in the building to capture it. We put the mainframe computer in the basement to work and came up with a list of random citizens eligible for this rare opportunity.”

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But the intent behind a police station in Virginia using the game is to nab criminals.

Smithfield Police Department’s page administrator Sgt. Bryan Miller told The Virginian Pilot that the whimsical post has a serious purpose.

One of the purposes is interact with the community, while the other is to get clues on people facing various charges “ranging from trespassing to grand larceny.”

Miller said: “I had no idea it was going to be this big.”

Launched few weeks ago, “Pokémon Go” is gaining popularity, with players using smartphones to seek and capture cartoon creatures on streets, in parks and other places, the publication said.

Miller thought of using the game while preparing to post of a list of eight people who have outstanding warrants in Smithfield as of July 12.

Miller, who also plays Pokemon Go, said: “I have a sense of humor.”

The patrol sergeant said that he witnessed another police department attempting “something similar.”

Police in New Hampshire also tried a similar post two week ago.

Miller said: “It’s been a good opportunity to interact with the public.”

He said the Ditto post has attracted 45,000 users compared to the estimated reach of the department’s Facebook page of 5,000 users on a good day.

The growing popularity of Pokémon Go mobile game is expected to bring $3bn revenue for smartphone giant Apple over the next two years.

The mobile game’s 21 million players are buying PokéCoins from Apple app store, with the iPhone maker charging a fee to host apps on its App Store and sharing the generated revenues.

 Brokerage firm Needham estimates that Apple could see additional high-margin revenue from the game nearing $3bn in the next two years.cbr
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CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.