- Associated Press - Friday, July 20, 2012

Police around the region are stepping up their presence outside movie theaters following a shooting at a Denver-area theater that left at least 12 people dead.

Movie theater employees are searching patrons’ bags before showings of “The Dark Knight Rises” at a theater in downtown Washington.

The step was taken Friday morning at the Regal Gallery Place in response to a mass shooting at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in Colorado. According to reports, a gunman walked into a theater, released a canister of gas and opened fire during “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Several moviegoers said they were not concerned about their safety. Daniel Ostick of Washington says he doesn’t think the shooting “was part of a larger plot” or related to the content of the movie. He adds that he doesn’t think added security is necessary, because someone who wants to do something that bad will find a way.

D.C. police say they will have an increased presence at movie theaters in the city this weekend.

Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said moviegoers this weekend will notice extra police patrols.

He said there’s no specific threat that has been made in the city, but that police want to ward against any potential copycat shootings.

In Montgomery County, police spokeswoman Angela Cruz says the department has stepped up its presence at movie theaters and is asking officers to be vigilant and alert.