Inside SimCity 2000: Police Stations
by Marty Faigin

I'd appreciate feedback on these columns, particuarly if you get different results or you don't agree with something I've said.

As with many features of SimCity, the so-called "Users Manual" tells you absolutely nothing about police stations other than that they are one of those "necessities of life that we all wish weren't necessary". Gee, Maxis that's a LOT of help.

The Dargahi /Bremer book ("SIMCITY 2000, Power, Politics, and Planning") is a bit more helpful. First you'll learn that stations surpress crime only within a 20 block radius. Second you will be advised to add stations when the Query tool shows that you have "more crimes than officers" (p. 131).

Like other services, you can adjust the annual funding of your stations from the budget window. 100% funding will give you 200 officers in each station at an annual cost of $100 per station. While you might want to skimp a bit on funding when the city is small, full funding makes the most sense once your city is large enough to need several stations.

The budget window is also where you can ask your "advisors" for their opinions. If you ask the police chief for advice he will tell you one of three things: (1) crime is out of control, (2) crime is about average or (3) crime is at an all time low. Another source of information on the crime situation is the graph window. Clicking the crime button, will show your current "x" value. Finally you can go to the map window and check on both the location and coverage of your stations.

So the question is, how does the number of stations actually affect the chief's advise and the "x" value?

To find out, I conducted an experiment. I started with a city composed entirely of high density zones that had 30,000 sims and 6 fully funded stations (5K sims/station). When I queried a station I found 177 crimes per station or 1062 total crimes in my city. The chief was very happy and told me that crime was at an all time low and my x value was 18.

I then blew up one of the stations leaving me with 5. Now I've got 6,000 sims/station. After letting a year go by I had 308 crimes per station or 1540 total crimes. My x value was now up to 26 and the chief told me that crime was comparible with the national average.

I then blew up another station leaving me with 4. In the mean time my city had grown to 34,000, so I now had one station for every 8,500 sims. After a year crimes were up to 506 per station or 2024 total and my x value was up to 35. The chief still reported that our crime rate was average.

So what did I learn? First, if you try and follow the rule that crimes should never exceed officers you're going to need a station for every 5,000 sims. For 100,000 sims that's 20 stations at an annual cost of $2000. On the other hand, if you're willing to settle for just average crime, you can cut back to about one station for every 7,500 sims. For a city of 100,000 that's 13 stations at an annual cost $1,300 per year.

In addition to the extra cost, remember that stations take up valuable real estate. If do decide on a "high service" city, you should consider building some blocks that are nine tiles wide so that you can put your police/fire /hospital/school buildings inside your regular zones since they don't need road access. I wouldn't build all my blocks that wide however or you'll end up with a lot of wasted space.

This Web Page was created by Patrick Coston September 8, 1995, Last updated April 4, 2006