CHESTER -- There's a growing fear among some community leaders in Chester County that has nothing to do with guns, drugs or gangs.
Apathy, these leaders say, is what they're worried about.
Sure, nearly 100 people crowded into the child-care room of the Chester County YMCA two weeks ago to discuss a rash of shootings.
But six people showed up at last week's event.
"We really are at a turning point now," said Kim Moore, who works with the Chester County school district's Safe Schools/Healthy Students Project. Moore helped organize the YMCA forums. "It's kind of like a do or die."
Another forum is scheduled for 6 tonight at the YMCA. The goal of the event is to divide residents into neighborhood community groups, organizations like the longstanding one in East Chester.
Moore envisions the groups having a leadership structure and holding regular meetings to discuss the problems -- and find solutions -- in their neighborhoods.
"We want to empower these neighborhoods," Moore said. "Each neighborhood, they all have problems, but they're not necessarily the same problems. ... They need to be empowered to take care of themselves. It is their neighborhood."
What started the series of forums is what police say is a drug battle in Chester County.
The fighting has left one man dead. Two people suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds. The county saw four shootings in a three-day period, and police said the violence appeared to emerge from a battle between five neighborhood groups jockeying for leadership in the illegal drug business.
The purpose of the YMCA forums was to generate ideas about how police and residents can combat the violence. Several other similar events were held around the same time.
"I know people lose hope and lose faith in the justice system," said Terry Graham, a YMCA employee who went to both forums there. But Graham said these events help build trust between the community and the police.
Graham said he's seen other good causes start strong and then fail because of apathy. He doesn't want that to happen here.