I found a wonderful book today, written by Cyril Burt. Written in 1925, "The Young Delinquent" is packed full of the latest cutting edge research on criminal behaviour in the young.
It also has some very helpful photographs to show the reader what these ne'er-do-wells look like:
This young man was clearly a bad sort. The lack of a cravat and cigarette holder single him out as a member of the criminal classes.
As for this brazen hussy, I can only hope that she was taken in hand by member of the clergy and shown the path to righteousness. But what makes a sweet, rosy-cheeked child turn into a hardened recidivist?
Sir Cyril researched the subject of criminal behaviour in the young for many years and codified his research into a sociological equivalent of the Periodic Table:
If you click to enlarge, you'll see that some of the contributing factors include illegitimacy, incorrigibility and being Belgian. On another page, Burt devaites from the received wisdom of contemporary criminology and blames delinquency on "Excessive local facilities for amusement".
85 years on, it all seems patently ridiculous. However in 1925, Cyril Burt's apparently exhaustive research, backed up with pseudo-scientific tables and photographic evidence, must have seemed pretty impressive.
You only have to look at this lad to know that he's going to be trouble:
These two girls have been sent to a reform school, but has it done them any good?
Yes and no.
It's interesting to see that people were fretting over the same issues nearly a century ago, looking for easy answers to complicated questions.
As for Mr Burt, he went on to become Sir Cyril and was recognised as one of the leading educational psychologists of his day. There is an interesting article about him here.
In the meantime, we should avoid exposing Belgians to an excess of leisure facilities, otherwise all hell might break loose.