This investigation considers the connections among street gangs, "crack" cocaine, and violence associated with crack distribution during the initial years of crack proliferation. Data were extracted from the narcotics investigation files and homicide files of five Los Angeles Police Department and Sheriff's Department areas where both crack and gangs were prominent The aims were to compare for 1983-1985, when crack first emerged as a significant problem, hypotheses about (1) gang involvement in crack distribution and (2) concomitants of gang involvement, particularly violence. The analyses confirm a dramatic growth in crack sales, an accompanying increase in gang members involved, but a declining rate of involvement, and inconsistent evidence on the impact of gang involvement on sales events. We infer that crack distribution, while including many individual gang members, was not primarily a street gang phenomenon.