‘Pokemon Go’ craze swarms Capitol Hill
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The U.S. Capitol building is usually crawling with tourists, but this summer, the campus has a new group of inhabitants: Pokemon.

A wildly popular new mobile app called “Pokemon Go,” which requires venturing out into the real world for a smartphone scavenger hunt, is spreading like wild fire on Capitol Hill.

People have been spotted walking around the area glued to their phones trying to catch creatures at Capitol Hill hotspots; staffers have been sharing tips and pictures on social media; and some lawmakers have seized on the app’s popularity to garner attention for their own agendas.


As users walk around in the real world, the game uses their phone’s camera and GPS system to highlight where creatures, battle gyms and “PokeStops” are located on what looks like a brightly colored Google map. When a Pokemon is lurking close enough to be captured, a digital creature pops up on the camera screen, essentially juxtaposed against a live view of the users' surroundings.

Because PokeStops are typically located at important or iconic places in any given area, such as historic landmarks or monuments, the Capitol Hill area is a hotbed for Pokemon activity.

In the Capitol building, users can hit up the Theodore Roosevelt bust, Helen Keller statue or Cannon tunnel to collect virtual supplies needed to keep playing the game.

To practice your battle skills in a “gym,” look no further than the Capitol, White House or Pentagon.

Users may have luck snagging water-based Pokemon – which can be found near bodies of water – by the Rayburn fountain or Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

Lawmakers, staffers and reporters have flocked to social media to flaunt goodies from the game that were caught in the Capitol.

“Things I have caught in my office: 1) Mice 2) This,” tweeted Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), posting a picture of the Spearow Pokemon.

Other lawmakers have used the game’s popularity to capture attention for legislative issues, with Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) chiding her Republican colleagues on Monday for not taking up a gun control measure.

“Anyone else on #PokemonGO? I've found a #Squirtle & a #Pikachu in DC, but I'm still looking for a Republican willing to vote on #NoFlyNoBuy,” Chu tweeted.

But for as quickly as the game has gone viral, it has also drawn criticism over safety and privacy concerns.


There have been reports of robbers using the app to lure in victims, while Washington's Department of Transportation urged drivers to not use the game while behind the wheel.

“No Pokemoning from behind the wheel,” the agency tweeted.