Nassau, Suffolk police step up patrols ahead of 'Joker' premiere

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Police in Nassau and Suffolk counties planned to step up their presence at movie theaters across Long Island as controversial movie "Joker" hit theaters Thursday night.

Police say the additional security comes amid growing concerns that the character, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, could inspire acts of violence inside a theater – despite there being no credible threats on Long Island.

Law enforcement officials say, however, that the FBI received tips of a threat on social media that originated in Texas.

“A threat went viral that came over the internet that said basically that there was going to be a shooting at one of the locations,” said Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.

In 2012, 12 people were killed and 70 people were injured during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

"As the movie rolls out, we will be there," says Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. "The movie theaters have all taken a precautionary security enhancement and our homeland office went out and did an assessment with all the officers, all the theaters that are going to be playing this movie and they're advising them what they think is the best security measures during this playing."

Ryder tells News 12 that theaters in Nassau have hired armed security guards for the premiere.

"I think they are just trying to take safe measures for children and families," said Simone Avila, a parent. "Even though there is protection I think somebody can slip through. There's no metal detectors ... they're not searching anybody. So you never know."

News 12 is told some theaters are also banning masks and costumes during the showings.

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