What is a gang? What are the risk factors associated with joining a gang? What is the nature of gang violence? How involved are girls in gangs and gang violence? What are the responses to gang violence? Answers to these questions are often elusive or fluctuate based on how facts are interpreted, varying perspectives, or changing circumstances. During the last fifteen years of the twentieth century, there was a virtual explosion of attention to youth gangs and youth violence that prompted the proliferation of numerous myths and misperceptions about American youth gangs. The chapters in this book, some previously published and others solicited specifically for this volume, were written by highly regarded scholars and researchers who address the status of youth gangs in America at the turn of the twenty-first century. This cutting-edge collection does more than add to the already abundant amount of information available; it focuses on specific, salient issues to offer a clear picture and better understanding of the complex nature of youth gangs in America.