Did you know that more residents of our neighborhoods read Advocate Community Newspapers than read D Magazine? In fact, according to results of an independent readership study released recently, more residents in our neighborhoods read Advocate newspapers than any other publication except The Dallas Morning News.

Advocate readership edged that of D by four percent, and we more than doubled that of the next closest competitors – the combined Greensheet/Thrifty Nickel.

Several other publications (including the Dallas Observer, the White Rocker and the Lakewood Spirit) were mentioned by neighborhood residents responding to the survey, but none exceeded 19 percent readership in our neighborhoods, while the Advocate is read by 47 percent of neighborhood residents.

Other Survey Results

• 84 percent of Advocate readers shop or trade with Advocate advertisers;
• 98 percent of neighborhood residents aware of the Advocate read it, with most spending up to one hour reviewing advertising and articles;
• 63 percent of Advocate readers have annual household incomes greater than $31,000, while 36 percent have incomes greater than $41,000;
• 60 percent live in or own their homes;
• 84 percent of Advocate readers are between the ages of 20-59, while 58 percent are between the ages of 30-49.

Perhaps not surprisingly, “crime news” topped the list of favorite Advocate sections, followed by “education news”, “environmental news”, “real estate news” and “pet news”.

And perhaps the statistic of which we’re most proud: 83 percent of Advocate readers say they are more aware of neighborhood events and retailers as a result of reading our newspapers.

Along with earning a few dollars, that’s exactly what we set out to accomplish two years ago when the East Dallas/Lakewood Advocate debuted with a press run of 10,000.

This month, the East Dallas/Lakewood Advocate and our six-month-old Lake Highlands Advocate newspapers will reach more than 44,000 households in East Dallas, Lakewood, Casa Linda and Lake Highlands.

And more than 30,000 Advocates are distributed directly to neighborhood homes each month, a six-fold increase from our initial home distribution of 5,000.

Coming this summer: 50,000 Advocates distributed each month.

As they say in the United Way commercials so prevalent during the recent football season: “Thanks to you, it’s working.”

We Can Make A Difference

Our crime coverage this month features Advocate editor Ken Turetsky’s interviews with Neighborhood Crime Watch groups and the individuals who make them work.

And Jeff Siegel chips in with his perspective on the futility of running to the suburbs to escape crime.

What we’ve tried to present is a street-level view of neighbors banding together to make their neighborhoods safer. You’ll find ideas how to start a Crime Watch in your neighborhood, and how to reactivate an existing Crime Watch.

The bottom line, though, is involvement: If we don’t get to know our neighbors, which after all is the fundamental goal of a Crime Watch group, we’ll lose this battle.

Being held hostage by crime isn’t a fact of life. We can do something about it.

The Advocate will continue to do its bit to “expose” the positive sides of neighborhood life, as well as attempting to provide solutions to the negative aspects of urban life we all encounter.

Don’t forget that we distribute our papers free because of advertising support from merchants interested in protecting our neighborhoods. So if you like our approach to neighborhood problem-solving, tell your favorite neighborhood merchants.

And if you don’t like our philosophy, give us a call, and we’ll hear you out.

Good Luck, John

A final, personal note: I noticed recently in a Morning News article (Jan. 16) that deputy Dallas police chief John Chappelle is under investigation by the department for “accidentally” tipping off “several landlords about a pending investigation of their property by the abatement unit, which presses City code enforcement in crime trouble spots”.

The Advocate first encountered Chappelle in 1991, when we were seeking a way to present comprehensive neighborhood crime information in a format useful for residents. At the time, Chappelle headed the Northeast Police Substation on Northwest Highway.

Chappelle and information officer Joe Greco helped us develop the crime package you find the the Advocate each month.

During the past few years, Chappelle and the Advocate have touched base several other times, and we’ve always found him to be that supposed rarity: a police officer uncommonly interested in neighborhood issues and anxious to solve problems.

Recently, Chappelle led a “zero-tolerance” sweep along Gaston Avenue that resulted in hundreds of arrests and, at least temporarily, a better neighborhood for residents.

The Morning News article pointed out that during Chappelle’s 15 years with the department, he has received 29 commendations and one “minor disciplinary citation”.

Let’s hope this problem is a simple misunderstanding that he may quickly put behind him so he can go back to helping our neighborhoods battle crime.

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