Shooting Revives Debate on Movie Theater Security

A shooting at a Louisiana movie theater has raised concern about security measures at multiplexes nationwide.

LAFAYETTE, La. – The recent shooting at the Grand Theatre in Lafayette, La., has renewed a debate about security measures at movie theaters throughout the nation.

On July 23, John Russell Houser, 59, opened fire at Grand Theatre, killing two people and injuring nine before killing himself, according to authorities.

The incident has reintroduced discussions on movie theater security. The initial debate began in 2012 when a gunman killed 12 people and wounded 70 in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

Some suggest installing walk-through metal detectors at theaters; however, increasing security can be costly. To install the detectors can cos about $5,000. Additionally, security systems require training personnel and paying their wages, NewsOK reports.

Security consultant Michael Dorn, an executive at Safe Havens Int’l and a contributor of SSI‘s sister publication Campus Safety, says it could cost between $250,000 and $1 million a year to maintain a strong security installation at a multiplex. The solution would include metal detectors, X-ray machines, workers to operate those devices and additional armed security.

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After the shooting in Aurora, the National Association of Theater Owners worked with the Department of Homeland Security to bolster security at multiplexes.

At that time, theater owners were told to make sure that emergency plans were up to date and sensitive areas were properly secured. However, not much has changed at theaters.

The majority of U.S. cinemas don’t have metal detectors or extensive security checks. Additionally, movie watchers can still wander around the venue without fear of raising suspicion from employees, NewsOK reports.

Although some moviegoers are on alert after the shooting at Grand Theatre, some individuals aren’t sure that more security is necessary. Additionally, for moviegoers who don’t want intrusive safety protocols, more security could make visiting a movie theater an exhausting process.

Still, whether or not tougher security measures are mandated, security experts maintain that the threat of violence in a movie theater clearly remains.

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