In light of Los Angeles' gang "state of emergency," ethnic and minority gangs are arguably more high profile now than at any other time in our history. News media typically focus on the crime and violence associated with gangs, but not much else. This encyclopedia seeks to illuminate the world of gangs, including gang formations, routine gang activities, aberrations and current developments. One hundred essay entries related to gangs in the United States and worldwide provide a diffuse overview of the gang phenomenon. Each entry defines and explains the term, provides an historical overview, and explains its significance today. As the following entries demonstrate, gangs are part of the fabric of American society. They are not only in our communities but also our schools and other social institutions. Understanding the world of gangs is therefore needed to understand American society. Entries include: Bikers, Bloods, Cholas, Crips, gang mythology, gang warfare, graffiti, Hell's Angels, Hong Kong Triads, Latin Kings, law enforcement, occultic gangs, mafia, media, prison gangs, rites, Skinheads, Streetgang Terrorism Omnibus Prevention Act, tattoos, trafficking, Wanna-bes, West Side Story, Witness Protection programs, and youth gangs.