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Local Expert: Expect Tighter Security At Movie Theaters After Colorado Massacre

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Police officers patrol outside the Hollywood Boulevard theater in Woodridge on Friday. (Credit: Brad Edwards/CBS)

Police officers patrol outside the Hollywood Boulevard theater in Woodridge on Friday. (Credit: Brad Edwards/CBS)

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UPDATED 07/20/12 12:16 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A local security expert says expect to see changes at movie theaters in the wake of the shooting in Colorado.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, security expert Jeffrey Cramer says the incident should serve as a reminder that random acts of violence can, and do, happen anywhere.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports


“If you step back, our society is one that movie theaters, or restaurants, or any other public place that doesn’t have any sort of metal detector or security, per se, this could have happened anytime,” Cramer said.

Cramer heads the Chicago office of the investigative and security firm Kroll.

“I think what it is is an implicit pact, if you will, in society that if you sit down in a restaurant or a movie theater, you’re not going to get shot by anybody randomly, and in turn, you’re not going to get shot by anybody else,” Cramer said. “And these random acts of violence kind of violate that assumption that we all have.”

Cramer says in other parts of the world, there are metal detectors and security in bars and clubs and theaters, and he expects we will see the same here.

Meanwhile, at the AMC River East theater in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, more than a dozen showings of “The Dark Knight Rises” were scheduled for Friday. While moviegoers there said they would be thinking about those who lost their lives in Colorado, it was not stopping them from coming to see the film.

“My mind was on the victims all morning; I mean, it’s sad. It’s unfortunate,” moviegoer Sam Stephor told CBS 2’s Susan Carlson. “You know, you shouldn’t have to go to a movie and worry if you’re going to walk out and get shot or something.”

“My company actually ended up buying us all tickets at the theater to see ‘Batman’ at 11,” added moviegoer Nick Navarro. “(The shooting) was an unfortunate series of events. I read the stories briefly this morning. It’s a tragedy. But no, it’s not going to stop me from seeing Batman.”

There have been calls by some people to cancel the screening of “Dark Knight Rising” in reverence for the victims, but so far, the AMC River East has not done so. In fact, some screenings for Friday night are completely sold out.

The reaction was largely the same among moviegoers in Cicero Friday, reports WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya.

Still, moviegoer Robert Solano, 16, said, “It’s crazy how, like, nowadays, you can’t go see a movie – with your family especially. The fact that somebody had the audacity to go in and just kill people is just wrong.”

Solano and many others, including Tracy Cocino, 36, think there should be better security at theaters – including metal detectors.

Going to movies in costume is also popular in Chicago. CBS 2 asked one local Batman fan how he thinks the events in Colorado will affect things here.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports


But back in Cicero, a moviegoer did indeed call for a full-out ban on masks and costumes in theaters – so that if someone did show up in one, someone might at least check out that person and minimize any negative act that was planned.

“They should definitely start talking about, you know, maybe putting at least restrictions, instead of banning (costumes) completely, because banning it completely is only going to cause a bigger outrage in the community, saying it’s ridiculous; saying it’s taking away freedom in the community,” he said. “And we don’t want that.”

Separately, a spokeswoman for AMC Theatres said the company is working with law enforcement across the country and reviewing “safety and security procedures,” adding that it not “a good idea for our guests to wear masks this weekend.”

Thirteen people are confirmed dead, and an estimated 38 were injured, in the shooting at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo. The suspect was wearing a mask and carrying multiple weapons.

Chicago police say they will give special attention to movie theatres throughout the city. There’s an increased police presence at suburban theatres including the Hollywood Boulevard Theatre in Woodridge and the Hollywood Palms Theatre in Naperville, which say they are showing “The Dark Knight Rises” at regular showtimes.

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