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Security stepped up nationwide in wake of Colorado movie theater shooting

By the CNN Wire Staff
July 21, 2012 -- Updated 1921 GMT (0321 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police say they want to discourage the potential for copycat incidents
  • Some are beefing up security at theaters, particularly those with "The Dark Knight Rises"
  • AMC Theaters says it will not allow face-covering masks or fake weapons

(CNN) -- Some cities and theaters around the country tightened security on Friday in the wake of a deadly shooting inside a Colorado movie house. Here is a partial list of the steps taken:

AMC Theatres

The company said it is reinforcing security procedures with its theater teams. It will not permit guests in costumes that make others uncomfortable, nor will it allow face-covering masks or fake weapons, AMC said in a news release. Though it declined to provide exact details of what it was doing, citing security concerns, the company said it is working with local law enforcement agencies, its landlords and security teams to "ensure we provide the safest environment possible for our guests."

Los Angeles

After the Colorado shooting, Los Angeles police dispatched officers to major venues where "The Dark Knight Rises" was playing. The Aurora, Colorado, theater was screening the new Batman film when the gunman opened fire.

The department said it will increase officers at area theaters and other places where large crowds gather. "Today, and in the immediate future, the LAPD will be providing high-visibility patrol to major theaters in Los Angeles, as well as other sporting events, concerts and crowded venues," police said in a statement.

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Dallas

The Dallas Police Department instructed its patrol officers to provide "extra visibility" at public locations, like movie theaters, where large groups of people gather, it said in a release. The department also told them to be extra vigilant at such locations, stressing that police in the Texas city have been trained on what to do in a situation like the one that unfolded in Colorado.

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New York City

Police were posted at more than three dozen New York City theaters showing "The Dark Knight Rises." The NYPD said it was not responding to any specific threat; rather, it was hoping to prevent copycats.

"We're just concerned that someone perhaps seeking notoriety will attempt to do something similar," said New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "We always hear that when a high-profile event happens, so we're doing this to sort of raise the comfort level of people who are going to the movies."

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Tampa, Florida

"In an abundance of caution," police in Tampa will increase patrols around theaters, the department said in a statement. All "traditional" theaters in the city hire off-duty officers in the evening hours, and since the Colorado shooting some have contacted the department to hire officers for the daytime, too, police said.

They currently conduct active-shooter trainings for shopping malls, large employers, schools and other facilities. That training will soon be offered to movie theaters, the department said.

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New Orleans

New Orleans has just two movie theaters, and in an effort to protect against possible copycat incidents, commanders in the neighborhoods where those houses are located contacted the theaters to talk about their security plans, said police spokeswoman Remi Braden. "As a super-precautionary measure," they hired some officers to work this weekend, she said.

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District of Columbia

Again, "as a precautionary measure," police in the District of Columbia said they will be paying close attention to area movie theaters. That directive was given as soon as the department was made aware of the Colorado shooting, said Assistant Chief Lamar Greene. He said police are focusing on theaters in general, and in particular on places that are screening the new Batman film.

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Montgomery County, Maryland

Police in Montgomery County, a suburb just north of the District of Columbia, will increase their presence at movie theaters this weekend as needed, according to spokesman Capt. Paul Starks. Many theaters have their own security, including off-duty police officers, he said.

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