Santa Cruz Police arrested a 26-year-old transient on suspicion of killing a 51-year-old transient at around 11 p.m. Friday at a campsite along the railroad tracks near Depot Park.
This is the city's third murder of the year. Police are not releasing names yet as the investigation is still underway.
The man was found dead in the campsite by police who got a call about suspicious activity there.
The tracks along the westside have become a flash point among city residents who have been filming illegal campsites there and asking for help cleaning them up.
Once one of the most tolerant cities toward homeless people in the nation, Santa Cruz has been going through a new wave of people who are tired of the crime and pollution transients are bringing into the city.
Citizen activists have been documenting crimes on Facebook page for Take Back Santa Cruz, including a photo of a man with a needle passed out on the patio at the restaurant Burger and a man defecating in a channel that runs to the ocean behind the old Wrigley building.
Members of the group and others called an impromptu community meeting Monday at which residents were asking police to do more to clean up the city of the population of homeless people who are committing crimes and selling and using heroin and leaving needles on beaches and campsites.
Here is a video of the trash and abuses along the railroad tracks.
The meeting was attended by police, city council members and residents, and filled a room after only one day of notice.
"It's nice to see these people concerned," said Sgt. Mike Harms. "We've been saying this for 20 years."