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How Corona, CA used Artificial Intelligence to Improve Crisis Management & Proactive Government

Corona, CA

The City of Corona used Zencity's insights to quickly develop and execute a communications strategy in real-time, and then track the effectiveness of that strategy. In doing so, Corona transformed a highly sensitive and negative incident into an opportunity to communicate with residents.

Topics Covered

Civic Technology
Law Enforcement and Emergency Response
Process Improvement


General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2018

Gov Champion

Chief Information Officer

Problem Addressed

In the summer of 2018, a Safe Surrender incident rocked the city.

Safe Surrender is a way to safely and legally surrender a newborn infant, no-questions-asked. In Corona, an abandoned, deceased infant’s body was found by the Corona Police Department. The incident went viral and dominated discussions in the city both on social media and on the local news. Along with this spike in conversation, significant misinformation began circulating both about the incident itself - including rumors of a murder - as well as about the city’s Safe Surrender policy and how the City managed such incidents.

Solutions Used

When the Safe Surrender incident occurred, the City leveraged their existing work with Zencity to immediately identify a significant rise in the volume of discourse on the topic, city-wide; track that discourse; and then track its communications strategies with residents.

It was able to do this using Zencity's AI-powered technology, which automatically aggregates thousands of city-wide, resident-generated data points from sources like social media, local news platforms, 311 and more. With the use of advanced AI, the data was categorized and sorted to analyze the topics being discussed and the sentiment of the feedback being given by Corona’s residents. Additionally, because the software visualizes the real-time data officials could see that the discourse was overwhelmingly negative, and was dominating resident conversations. The automatic categorization and sorting of data helped the City to understand what the residents were communicating about and why the sentiment was negative.



Corona used Zencity's insights to quickly develop and execute a communications strategy in real-time, and then track the effectiveness of that strategy.


Corona was able to measure a change in resident discourse and watch negative feedback about the incident transform to positive based on the city's actions.


Corona initiated an education campaign with local media based on insights showing residents weren’t familiar with the Safe Surrender program, emphasizing legal protections & confidentiality.


Corona opened public dialogue channels so that residents’ opinions could inform future policy changes, thus more effectively engaging residents in defining policy.

Something Unique

Corona initially began working with Zencity to realize their strategic vision of being more data-driven. Zencity's social AI tool to help them better connect with residents and engage with the silent majority.

Who Should Consider

Any city that is looking to take a data driven approach to improving citizen satisfaction through better communication management and engagement.

Last Updated

May 19th, 2019
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