This weekend I was awoken at 3 in the morning by loud obnoxious drunks who were on the alley side of whichever house they were partying at. Now I went into my back yard to try to tell where exactly the noise was coming from so I could call 911 and tell them which house they need to go to. I like to be accurate and since it is a small alley and a tree blocks my line of sight, so I couldn't tell if it was from the house with the tiny deck or the roof deck house.
On other blogs in comments people suggest going to the neighbor causing the noise and respectfully asking them to turn it down. Reflecting on my actions that night, calling 911 and not engaging with the noisemakers would have been the least risky (to my health and safety) option. Mainly because the phrase, 'I walked alone down a dark alley at 3am, in a bathrobe armed with only an umbrella to talk to an unknown number of drunks yelling profanities and ethnic slurs', seems to be a really bad idea. I would have been armed with a pick-ax if the one I had was near the umbrellas. It was 3am, I don't think straight at that hour. And to give most of that crowd credit they acknowledged that they were loud and needed to be quiet and one guy apologized. However, another guy screamed he was going to "kill your neighbor." Twice. And this boys and girls is the reason why you just call the cops. Even if it was in jest, it was still a death threat.
There are situations where I do talk to (or text or call) some of my neighbors when any of their gatherings get a little loud and interferes with my desire to go to sleep. It's when I know the neighbors already, desire to maintain good relations and know that they are reasonable people. There are neighbors who have exhibited bad behavior in the past and confronting them is just asking to make a bad situation worse. Another thing is if I'm already dressed for bed and don't feel like putting on a robe, shoes, and depending on the weather, a coat I'm more likely to use the phone to resolve my problem. If I have the neighbor's number, I call or text them. If I don't, I'll call the cops.