I read the other posting, "When is it ok to call the police?" I can't really empathize with that. I've only had good experience with the police in Portland. Last night was a good example;
I live in a funky commercial space on NE Alberta. People live above me, and nearby. Around midnight a friend and I thought it'd be fun to have an improvised jam session out on the sidewalk. So we brought out my upright bass, a bottle of wine, amplifier, a couple of stools, and a tall gothic candle for mood. :-) Oh yeah, also, my dog was sort of wandering around on the street while my friend sang (and she can belt it out), and I played bass.
So let's see - I've got the open flame on the street, open bottle of wine, dog offleash, and loud music at midnight. I see a police car pull up at the donut shop across the street. 10 minutes later a policeman walks towards us. We start a song for him (Frank Mills from Hair), and he was totally into it. He introduced himself to us - he's the leutenant for the area. I introduced myself, told him I live and work there. Eventually he got a call, wished us a good night and took off.
It was a good experience - but it was also the one I expected. I'm really into the community, and I look out for the neighborhood late at night. And this is how police have been with me - I'm respectful, and so are they. Duh! :-)
And even in this case - where we *were* being a little sketchy, I'd suppose. Of course, though, we *are* pretty good musicians - maybe that had something to do with it.