Cities: Skylines Courthouse Guide (How To Unlock + Uses)

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To unlock the courthouse, you first need a 50% crime rate in your city, and you’ll need to achieve “Boom Town” status (around 2000 population).

The courthouse building is located in tier 3 of the unique buildings category.

To get the crime rate higher, make your citizens unhappy and unemployed by turning off services and limiting job opportunities. It’s much easier to unlock the courthouse with a new city; however, it is still unlockable with an already well-developed city.

Below are a few key details to check for when attempting to unlock the courthouse.

  • Crime rate must be 50%+ for 5 weeks
  • “Boom Town” city milestone is needed to unlock the courthouse (around 2000 pop.)
  • Refrain from building/keeping services (ex. fire, police, medical, etc.)
  • Keep unemployment high, but still zone some commercial/industrial zones
  • Keep citizens uneducated
  • Supply only basic needs (ex. water, electricity, sewage, and waste disposal)
 

Courthouse Specifications

Unlocking the courthouse is a hard to achieve and expensive undertaking. Building it is a requirement for the medical center, which is why many players want to unlock it.

The courthouse provides some entertainment to your population, but also contributes to noise pollution and high upkeep.

Category Value
Cost 55,000
Upkeep 960
Entertainment Value 75
Noise Pollution 25

Tip: When placing down the courthouse, there is a ring around the building to show the affected area. This is slightly deceiving because even buildings outside of the ring can benefit from the entertainment provided.

 

Unlocking The Courthouse in an Old vs. New City

Unlocking the courthouse is much easier with a brand-new city, but can still be done with an already built city following generally the same steps.

Keeping in mind that the main requirement for the courthouse is a 50%+ crime rate, many unfortunate things will happen to your city. The overall cost to your city is lower for a new city than an established one, but if one is determined to unlock it, it can be done.

No matter which kind of city you have, read both sections below, as many methods overlap with each other.

While there are small differences in the way to achieve the desired 50%+ crime rate, essentially your goal is to make citizens unhappy, uneducated, and unemployed.

 

Courthouse in a New City

The first thing you want to do when starting a new city with unlocking the courthouse as a goal is to connect to the highway and zone large residential areas. Make sure to provide citizens with water, electricity, and waste disposal.

Avoid building any other type of service or zone at the beginning.

Once your population starts to rise, you can start zoning some commercial and industrial areas as needed.

The best way to know when to zone these areas is when demand for them is 50% or higher. You want to maintain a balance between high unemployment and enough available jobs to keep citizens from leaving your city.

 
An example starter city set-up. Mostly residential, no services, and small commercial/industrial zones / Cities: Skylines
An example starter city set-up. Mostly residential, no services, and small commercial/industrial zones
 

Once the population is around 2000, you should have unlocked the “Boom Town” milestone, giving you access to tier 3 unique buildings.

Now is the time to try and get the crime rate above 50% for 5 weeks. To do this, shut down any services you may have built, such as fire stations, parks, etc. Next, create a district around your city and enable the following policies:

  • Pet Ban (Services) – Decreases Happiness
  • Smoking Ban (Services) – Decreases Happiness

Once you have followed all these steps, wait until crime goes above 50%. If this is not happening or is taking a very long time, you can begin de-zoning portions of the commercial/industrial areas to increase unemployment and reduce happiness – turning your citizens to a life of crime.

 

Courthouse in an Old City

Similar to the new city strategy, it’s key to disable your services and start increasing citizen unhappiness and unemployment.

This will cause many problems for your city, not only because of the high crime rate, but also because it will leave your buildings vulnerable to abandonment.

If your city is massive and turning off each individual building is not doable right away, you can try reducing the budget for these services while you continue to turn off key buildings. This will help save money and immediately start increasing unhappiness while you work to officially close down services.

 
A sample budget decreasing all key services to their lowest value / Cities: Skylines
A sample budget decreasing all key services to their lowest value
 

With an established city, a top priority is to start making citizens uneducated.

Since many of them are likely to be educated in at least some way, this process will take time. Once services have been shut off, you can put the game in the highest speed setting and watch education decrease alongside a rising crime rate.

While waiting for the crime rate to go up, be sure to pay attention to what is happening in the city.

There should be multiple problems popping up, but the key one to avoid is people leaving the city in extremely high numbers. Make sure that employment is high enough that people stay in your city and keep unemployment high enough that citizens are forced to engage in criminal activity.

Note: You will lose many citizens during this process. It is okay to lose some of them, just keep an eye on people leaving and make sure all your citizens don’t end up leaving.

 

Building the Courthouse: Uses and Recovery

Once you’ve met the requirements for unlocking the courthouse, you need to plan where to put it.

The best place to put it is in a central location in your city that’s accessible to your population.

Next, be sure to remember to turn your services back on or build the appropriate buildings in your new city.

After you turn your services back on or build new ones, you can begin creating your city as normal. Even with the residual damage that was caused by forcing the crime rate so high, your city can become anything you want it to be. Focus on generating revenue at the beginning and your city with stabilize in no time at all.

While the courthouse does not do anything more than provide entertainment value and aesthetics to your city, it is a steppingstone to unlocking and building the medical center monument.

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Trent Burge

Trent is an American writer with a passion for video games and helping others understand how to best achieve their goals.