Not interested in Pokémon Go? It may be interested in you…
Pokémon Go is out now in the UK and you may have already heard the reports about people playing Pokémon while driving and the police having to issues warnings about playing the game sensibly. But did you know that Pokémon Go could affect your home insurance too?
If you've not seen Pokémon Go, it's a fairly simple game where you need to collect 151 different creatures (or Pokémon) and then battle them in Pokégyms to make them stronger. The aim is to build a complete collection with the strongest Pokémon. Along the way you can visit Pokéstops and buy in-game items to help you become a better Pokémon trainer. And here's the problem for many householders…
Pokémon Go is an "augmented reality" game, which is a bit like virtual reality. You need to look through your phone's camera to see the Pokémon the game has hidden in different places, and this means walking around searching for Pokémon. Pokémon Go will also select certain places to become Pokégyms or Pokéstops. Usually these are public buildings or places of interest but not always. Some people have found their homes have been turned into Pokégyms.
This means you may find a crowd of eager Pokémon players hanging around near your property and Peterborough police force have already had to issue a warning about trespassing. But even if people aren't trespassing, they'll certainly be visiting their local Pokégym regularly and often in groups, giving them legitimate access to the land around your home if your unlucky enough to find its' been turned into a Pokégym. And with people spending more time close to your house, they'll soon get to know when it's empty, how many people live there and if you've any valuable pets or other items, making your house a target for thieves.
Already Paddy Power has placed odds of 6/1 on Bristol being the first UK city to ban Pokémon Go (source has been deleted). But it's not all bad news; the Church of England's Norwich Diocesan website says "Pokémon Go is … giving churches around the country a great opportunity to meet people from their area who might not normally come to church."
So what should you do if you find people are hanging around your home glued to their smartphones? There are a few things you can do to improve your home's security:
- Try and vary the times of day you leave and arrive home, so burglars can't see a pattern.
- Get security lighting at the front and rear of your house.
- Make sure all gates and doors are properly locked and don't leave keys in obvious places.
- Use timer switches to turn TVs and lights on and off when you're out.
And finally, if you see anything suspicious, call the police. It may be that someone is hanging around waiting for that elusive Mewtwo, or they may be waiting for the right moment to commit a burglary. Can you really tell the difference?