Do movie theaters need to beef up security?

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ interview by Kaley O'Kelley and Javier Soto

Posted on July 20, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 20 at 11:40 AM

Poll:
Are you going to delay or cancel plans to see "The Dark Knight Rises"?
Poll:
Should movie theaters implement new security measures?

PHOENIX -- In the wake of Friday morning's mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," many people are wondering if new security measures can and should be implemented in public places like multiplexes and malls.

Scottsdale attorney Steven Adelman, who specializes in venue safety, says there is one overarching question to be asked in the wake of massacre: "What are we doing to make public places safer?"

He pointed out that most people believe places like malls and movie theaters should have open, unlimited and easy access.

"We apparently greatly prefer that there be no visible security presence, no pat-downs, no wanding, none of the things that would potentially have avoided a scenario like this," he said. "In a multiplex or a shopping mall, there are not such things."

That's not just the case in Colorado. It's nationwide. 

Adelman said security is often about mindset. Visible security measures spark fear in some, making them wonder if there's a reason to be afraid. At the same time, the exact same measures are comforting to others. Adelman himself is in the latter camp.

"We can all sit here and think, 'We're the good guys. We don't need to be wanded or checked out in any way,'" he explained. "Frankly I feel better knowing everyone is subjected to that because in a movie theater, I don't know who else is there. I just don't know. I personally would like the extra sense of security, knowing that someone has vetted all of us equally."

As for people in these public venues, Adelman say they need to be aware of where they are and have an emergency exit plan in mind.

"to the extent that people pay attention to that up until this incident, they certainly ought to pay better attention to it now," he said.

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