In a Charley Project case, whenever I refer to another city, I always include the state as well. Like: “John Smith was last seen in Venedocia, Ohio on January 7, 2013. He left home to drive to Delphos, Ohio, but never arrived.” It gets awkward sometimes, though, and I feel like I ought to be more flexible with this rule. But I’m not sure just HOW flexible.
Like, “So-and-so was driving from Miami, Florida en route to Boston, Massachusetts.” Everyone knows that Miami is in Florida and Boston is in Massachusetts.
But not literally EVERYONE knows this. I know the Charley Project has regular readers who don’t live in the United States and might not be familiar with U.S. geography. I mean, my country borders Canada and I’ve been to Canada a few times, but it would be difficult for me to name all its provinces, never mind its major cities. To say nothing of Mexico! (And for that matter, many people who actually live in the U.S. also know nothing about its geography. Sad.)
Furthermore, the names of major U.S. cities aren’t unique. There’s the huge city of Detroit, Michigan, famous for its role in the automotive industry. As Charley Project readers will discover when they check today’s updates, there’s also a Detroit, Oregon — although Wikipedia says it’s a blink-and-you-miss-it hamlet of 202 people, almost as small as the place where I born. (In fact, it was adding Mr. Moline’s casefile today that inspired me to write this post.) Des Moines, Iowa, is a city most people have heard of, but there’s also a Des Moines in Washington and it’s a proper town; almost 30,000 people live there. Brooklyn is a borough in New York City, and also a neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland.
(This caused confusion several years ago when they found an abandoned toddler and were trying to identify her. She said she was from Brooklyn and they thought she meant Brooklyn, New York. Turns out she meant Brooklyn, Baltimore. You’d think that, seeing as how she was found IN Baltimore, they’d have checked there first, but there you go. That kind of mistake is what I’m trying to prevent by always listing the state names even when it seems obvious.)
Anyway, when I say someone was going to Los Angeles or Philadelphia or whatever, it does seem kind of pedantic to list the state too, and I kick around the idea of changing the rule, but I haven’t done it yet. I’ve heard the Associated Press actually has a list of U.S. cities considered famous enough that they don’t have to tack on the state name when they’re mentioned in articles. Perhaps I should borrow that.