In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Colorado, most area law enforcement authorities and movie theater operators are not taking any immediate additional security measures.
But corporate officials at Cobb Theatres and Cinébistrowhich owns theaters in Hialeah, Miami Lakes and Dolphin Mall, said they will be bolstering security at each of its theaters.
“As a precaution, we will be adding additional security procedures at each location to maintain and ensure our guests a safe and comfortable cinema experience,” Jeremy Welman, the company’s chief operating officer said in a statement e-mailed to the Miami Herald from its corporate office in Birmingham, Alabama.
“As always, we take the safety, security and comfort of our guests and team members very seriously and will continue to make that a top priority,” Welman added.
Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño announced Friday that the city will add more police to Dolphin Mall, where 14 to 16 police officers patrol the mall area daily.
“I want Sweetwater residents as well as other Dolphin Mall visitors to feel assured that we are doing everything possible to ensure their safety,” Maroño said.
Other area theater owners report they will maintain current security measures for now, but may make changes in the future.
Said Regal Entertainment Group, which owns several movie theaters in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, in a statement: “As is our custom, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our security needs as necessary.”
At the Regal South Beach Stadium 18 on Lincoln Road, a contingent of Miami Beach police officers patrol nightly as part of an an off-duty security detail, said Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said.
The AMC Aventura 24 mulitplex at the Aventura Mall has a full-time squad of police officers regularly assigned to the mall and its multiplex movie theaters, said Aventura police spokesman Chris Goranitis.
Movie theaters around the country continued Friday showings of the film "The Dark Knight Rises" as planned, though some were stepping up security. New York police commissioner Raymond Kelly said the city was providing an extra security in New York theaters playing the film “as a precaution against copycats and to raise the comfort levels among movie patrons."
The National Association of Theatre Owners issued a statement offering their "hearts and prayers" to the victims. The association said, "Guest safety is, and will continue to be a priority for theater owners," adding that the group would work closely with law enforcement and review security procedures.
The PG-13 film played in 3,825 theaters domestically in the midnight screenings, expanding to 4,404 cinemas nationwide Friday. Many showings on the weekend were sold out in advance.
But some moviegoers were already rethinking their plans.
Christine Cooley, who works for the University of Florida at a campus facility near Tampa, Fla., said she and her 15-year-old daughter were stunned by the TV coverage of the shooting Friday morning.
"Her immediate reaction was ’I’m never going to the movie theater again. Why should I go somewhere where I’m looking over my shoulder worrying that someone is going to come in and harm us when I can wait six months and watch it in the safety of my own home?’"
Cooley said she tried to explain to her daughter that it was an isolated incident, "but I see where she’s coming from. Why put yourself in harm’s way?"
The Associated Press and Miami Herald reporter Diana Moskoviz contributed this reporter.