Share this article

print logo

Theaters buck trend of yuletide violence

What had become an ugly yuletide tradition was avoided this year at the Regal Galleria Theaters, where violence and drama were largely confined to the screens.

Cheektowaga police credited increased planning and a partnership with other law enforcement authorities and several nonprofit organizations with preventing major problems at the Walden Galleria cinema, where Christmas night disturbances were a concern in recent years.

"We feel that things went fairly well. There were a few minor fighting incidents, skirmishes if you will," said Capt. James Speyer of the Cheektowaga police. "But Christmas night itself was very uneventful."

Cheektowaga police escorted about 70 moviegoers from the multiplex Saturday evening but did not have to arrest anyone.

Police escorted 13 people and made six arrests Sunday, including one teenage boy who was charged with fighting and possessing a switchblade knife.

Christmas night usually draws a packed house to area movie theaters because they are among the few venues open on the holiday, and blockbuster movies often start showing at that time.

In recent years, rowdy teenagers have brawled in theaters at the Walden Galleria, in Niagara Falls and on Elmwood Avenue.

Cheektowaga police beefed up their presence at the theaters, while mall security hired additional off-duty officers to assist. Niagara Frontier Transit Authority police and state troopers were involved in patrols, as well.

Police also relied on help from the FATHERS Group, Buffalo United Front and No More Tears to quell violent outbursts before they started, said Speyer.

Those volunteer organizations have a good rapport with various groups of young people, he said.

Christmas night apparently was quiet at the Regal Theater at 2001 Elmwood Ave., as well. Buffalo police had no record of any disturbances at the cineplex this year.

e-mail: jtokasz@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment