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Security Heightened At Hollywood Theaters After Colorado Shooting

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HOLLYWOOD (CBS) — In the wake of the massacre at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” uniformed Los Angeles Police officers and private security have kept a high profile at Hollywood theaters showing the new movie.

Screenings for the highly-anticipated final installment of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy began at midnight at Arclight Cinema in Hollywood. As soon as word of the Colorado shootings reached Los Angeles, a few officers from the Hollywood division came to the theater and stayed as the first movie-goers went in.

Now that officers have left, private security guards are on patrol, KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports.

“The outside perimeters, the courtyard, the stairwells, and the rooftops,” a guard said.

Fans in costume said they felt better when they saw police officers in uniform.

“When we first got here, there were some police officers here, like, before they let us into the theater. They looked like they were just kind of hanging out,” one moviegoer said.

LAPD Commander Andrew Smith says they are always concerned about copycat gunmen and will also have undercover police officers on patrol.

“Always concerned about that. Then we have some folks who are at the theaters, if you see something that’s suspicious, give the police a call,” Smith said. “We’ll be happy to come out and investigate it, and make sure everything’s OK.”

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says they are also increasing their presence at movie theaters.

“While the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado appears to be an isolated incident, our vigilance has been raised,” Captain Mike Parker at the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said in a statement. “The heightened alert of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department includes increased patrols to create a more visible presence at movie theaters and other places where people congregate.”

CBS2/KCAL9 Reporter Carter Evans went on an LAPD ride along Friday evening.

He said the LAPD was on high alert Friday evening.

Captain Duane Hayakawa of the LAPD said, “As you’re looking around, you will see uniforms. What you probably won’t see are our undercover officers in plain clothes.”

The vice squad is out in full force and there is a large presence around movie theaters. Says Hayakawa, “A lot of people won’t know the guy sitting next to them is a police officer.”

Inside many theaters, Evans reports, donation boxes for the victims in Colorado.

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