This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines how processes of urban structural and economic decay have combined to create new and invigorate old criminogenic factors. It identifies factors that cut across gender categories (e.g., peers, general drug abuse, victimization, criminal opportunities) and others that apply primarily to women (e.g., decline in family and neighborhood supervision, earlier termination of education, and crack addiction). The book examines how processes of urban structural and economic decay have combined to create new and invigorate old criminogenic factors. It then explores how personal decisions related to such participation are mediated by women's experiences and understanding of their present environment. The book also describes a framework the authors have developed for understanding how the interaction between personal history, social processes, and a changing inner city structures women's participation in violent crime.