WSAZ | Huntington, West Virginia | News

Local Theaters Review Security in Wake of Colorado Shootings

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

GALLIPOLIS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- After the deadly shootings at the Colorado theaters, we wondered about security at local theaters.

What measures are already in place and what changes might be considered to make things even safer? We talked to a few local owners who were already busy thinking.

“You can't protect yourself against something like this -- a lone person doing something like this," said Derek Hyman, president of the Greater Huntington Theatre Corp. "There's just no way to know, and nothing you can do to protect yourself. And you just hope it doesn't happen.”

But, that hasn't stopped Hyman from re-evaluating his security systems. With nearly 30 years in the theater business and owner of Park Place Stadium Cinema in Charleston, as well as theaters in Logan and Cincinnati, he knows a thing or two about providing a safe environment. He already provides a police officer at the Charleston theater on the weekends because of its downtown location.

“We're talking to police about putting officers at our Cincy and Logan theaters for the comfort of our patrons and staff,” Hyman said.

“I would not have had any second thoughts of bringing my daughter here,” said Lisa Breving, a theater patron.

Security at Silver Screen Seven Theaters in Gallipolis starts before you even walk through the front door.

“We always check the parking lot and make sure nothing's out of the ordinary,” said Zac Wallen, general manager at Silver Screen Seven Theaters.

“We have one entrance so people can only come in one way," theater owner Robbie Pugh said. "All of the exterior doors are locked from the outside, and there are alarms on them. So, if they go off, we do go check them immediately and find out what's going on with that."

Unquestionably, "The Dark Knight Rises" drew larger than usual crowds full of diehard fans at midnight showings locally and across the country. That makes it hard to keep an eye on everyone at all times. That's where surveillance systems at most local theaters come into play.

“We have 20 cameras so we can see what's going on at all times,” Pugh said.

Ultimately, it all comes down to sense of security for the patrons.

Late Friday afternoon, the National Association of Theater Owners says it was reviewing security procedures in movie theaters. Also, AMC says patrons will no longer be allowed to wear costumes or masks into their theaters.

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