Interpersonal violence is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among adolescents and young adults. In this study, 246 inner city, predominantly black youth (ages 14-23 years) were surveyed regarding their exposure to, and participation in, violent acts. An in-depth psychological interview was also completed. A total of 44% reported they could access a gun within one day, 42% have seen someone shot or knifed, and 22% have seen someone killed. In the preceding 3 months, 18% reported carrying a gun, and 32% had been in a physical fight; 34 subjects were rated by the psychologists as a high risk for involvement in violent acts. Those subjects were more likely to be of lower socioeconomic status (p < 0.01) and to have been physically abused (p < 0.001) but no more likely to be a witness to violent events. Inner-city youth are frequently exposed to violence. Those at risk for perpetration of violence were more likely to be at high risk for most other health-risk behaviors.