Catasauqua Press

Monday, July 22, 2019

Residents address Pokemon in their neighborhood

Tuesday, July 2, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Petition requests church remove hot spot status to reduce gamers’ traffic

Residents Keith Bartholomew and Leann Briody came before Hanover Township Council June 5 to discuss activity in their neighborhood.

“We had an instance where gunshots were fired on Pennsylvania Avenue at Chapman across from our house. It was in Bethlehem, but it was still close to us,” Bartholomew said.

The incident was captured on video from several homeowners’ surveillance cameras.

“We also had the instance where a pipe bomb was found just off Catasauqua Road. It’s not in Hanover either but still close,” he said.

Both instances were reported to state and local police, who are investigating.

Bartholomew is on high alert after the instances and noticed a number of strangers in the area around Ulster Street.

“I approached them and asked what they were doing because they had their cellphones out,” he said.

According to Bartholomew, St. Andrew’s Church is a Pokemon Go site. To the uninitiated, this means players can download the Pokemon game app and see a cartoon character on the cellphone screen running across a building in the area. Pressing a button captures the figure and the user scores points. Allowing your property on the app site means it is a hot spot. No one at the meeting was sure how a particular location was selected as a hot spot. According to Chairman Bruce Paulus, there is a hot spot at Catasauqua Lake in Canal Park.

Bartholomew is leery of people loitering in the neighborhood given the recent spat of incidents. He asked the pastor at St. Andrew’s to cancel the hot site. He was rebuffed.

“[Church officials] said they don’t have any problems with the Pokemon people,” Bartholomew said.

Bartholomew discussed the problem with his neighbors, and 54 of them signed a petition to have the Pokemon hot spot removed. Bartholomew asked if council would back his request to the church. Council agreed but conceded that there is no way the township can force the church to give up the hot spot.

There is an option on the app allowing anyone within 130 feet of a hot spot to request to have it removed. Bartholomew is close to the limit and will try to get it removed.