The third edition of Youth Gangs (formerly Juvenile Gangs) represents a significant updating of many of the chapters from the previous two editions. In terms of organization and topics, Youth Gangs is almost identical to the earlier versions with the exception that the separate chapter on typologies of youth gangs has been eliminated, with sections of it merged with the chapter that covers classical theories of youth gangs.

Youth Gangs is intended to be an overview yet in-depth discussion of issues of importance to social scientists such as race/ethnicity, gender, and violence in gangs. The book is comprehensive since it continues to offer its own theory of youth gangs (Chapter Eight) and deals with history of youth gangs as well as gangs in other cultures (Chapters Five and Six). The book is unique in that it does offer perspectives on youth gangs historically and cross-culturally while addressing the topic from a sound and comprehensive sociological framework. "Youth Gang Violence" (Chapter Two) and "Street Gangs in Other Cultures" (Chapter Six) are examples of chapters receiving major revisions. Youth Gangs incorporates many important journal contributions to the study of youth gangs written since the last edition, as well as major books and government reports. Youth Gangs is written for a variety of audiences and is intended to be a sound scholarly contribution to the literature.