Full coverage of the shootings at the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo.

Police Increase Presence at N. Texas Movie Theaters

By Ellen Goldberg and Ken Kalthoff
|  Saturday, Jul 21, 2012  |  Updated 12:23 AM CDT
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Police across the metroplex have bolstered their patrols after the movie theater massacre in Colorado. Police say they hope to discourage any potential copycats and raise the comfort level of movie goers.

Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News

Police across the metroplex have bolstered their patrols after the movie theater massacre in Colorado. Police say they hope to discourage any potential copycats and raise the comfort level of movie goers.

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Additional Security at North Texas Theaters

More police visibility might scare any copy cat criminals away after Friday's massacre in Colorado, but two private security experts talk about what theaters should do to keep people safe.

Plano Police Offering Sense of Safety at Cinemark

Visible police presence at a Plano theater near Cinemark corporate headquarters made many movie-goers feel safer.
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Police across the metroplex have bolstered their patrols after the movie theater massacre in Colorado Friday.

Cedar Hill police say they kicked someone out of a theater there because he was acting suspicious. Police say he was an armed and licensed private investigator, who claimed to have been hired by Cinemark to appraise theater security. Turns out he wasn't and Cedar Hill police asked him to leave the theater.

NBC 5 spotted marked police cruisers patrolling movie theater parking lots, in both Dallas and Plano Friday night. Both agencies say they hope to discourage any potential copycats and raise the comfort level of movie goers.

In a statement, the Dallas Police department said it has instructed patrol officers to provide extra visibility and to be extra vigilant at public locations where large numbers of people gather, such as movie theaters.

The Plano Police department says it has extra uniformed officers patrolling outside its movie theaters, as well as undercover officers inside theaters where the Dark Knight Rises is showing.

"We thought that it would be in the best interest of our citizens to give them an extra sense of security that we are going to be there watching," said Plano Police Officer Andrae Smith.

AMC theaters, with locations across the metroplex, announced it will no longer allow its customers to wear costumes or face-covering masks.

Experts Weigh In on Theater Security

North Texas security experts have differing views on what measures theaters should take after the Colorado shooting.

"We need more security in confined areas," said Chaim Koppel with International Security Defense Systems. Koppel is native of Israel where terrorism and heavy security are more common.

He said the theater attack represents a new threat to U.S. citizens and should be met with stronger security including metal detectors.

"It's not perfect for the movie theater, but at the same time, you need somebody who is trained to detect those kinds of things before they happen, otherwise, it's too late," Koppel said.

A.J. Irwin is a former U.S. Immigration agent and Joint Terrorism Task Force coordinator currently providing private security work for Yarbrough Strategic Advisors in Dallas.

"I think they should be doing something more but I don't think they should be overreacting," Irwin said.

Irwin said extreme security measures like metal detectors could scare people away from the movies.

"The day that security becomes a major issue at a movie theater is the day people stop going to movies," he said.

Police in Colorado said the suspect used a back door to bring in weapons so Irwin said metal detectors would not have stopped the attack.

Both experts agree that better trained employees might help notice suspicious behavior, including an unusual opening of an emergency exit.

And both experts agree that any tip from witnesses or bystanders is extremely important and should be reported to authorities.

"He probably spoke to people about it, and there's people now that are probably saying, 'if only I would have said something,'" Irwin said about the Colorado suspect.
 

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