by Stephen Baxter
Santa Cruz Sentinel 08/08/2012
SANTA CRUZ – Santa Cruz police cleared out 15 illegal campsites and arrested 20 people in the fourth week of a program aimed at reducing homeless camps.
Officers also issued 67 tickets for illegal camping and related charges from July 29 to Aug. 4.
Police spokesman Zach Friend said the arrests were mainly for drug charges, including one case of suspected meth sales. Another person was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property.
Twenty-nine camps were posted with warnings to vacate, police said.
Resident complaints have fueled the campaign, as well as concerns of poor sanitation, environmental problems and recent fires related to the camps. Friend said many of the camps are hideouts for criminal activity.
Since the project began in July, police have posted 115 notices to leave and dismantled 42 campsites. They also have issued 245 citations and made 70 arrests.
Santa Cruz police ask residents to report illegal campsites by calling 420-5892.