Cape Town is reasonably safe but a lot of crime does exist, some of a very violent nature and so precautions must be taken. The tourism authorities and the police take crime against visitors very seriously and are very willing to advise on the current areas to avoid. Some areas are definitely NO GO for visitors.
Be street wise, and don't carry all your cash with you, use the hotel safe immediately on arrival and use marked taxis or the open top bus to move between areas. Try not to have cameras loose and make yourself look like a local. Do not allow strangers to assist you in at ATM's as there are several ATM scams in operation. Try to explore in groups and stick to well-lit streets especially at night and this also includes the walking routes up Table Mountain
If driving, store parcels out of sight in the boot of the car and do not leave luggage unattended. Park in well lit areas at night and drive with your doors locked and your windows closed. Be alert at traffic lights.
The police emergency number is 10111 and 112 for a cell phone. A tourist police assistance unit is located in St Georges Mall and at Company's Gardens. The main charge office in Cape Town is open 24 hours (021 467 8077).
There is also a Tourism Information and Safety Call Line that operates 24/7 on 083 123 2345. A 24/7 security operations centre operates at 47 Bree Street, which is on the corner of Bree and Waterkant operated by Group 4 Securicor and provides help to visitors in the city centre (021 421 0885).
There is a Travel Buddy system where visitors register on the Travel Buddy website www.travelbuddy.co.za and provide their itinerary details. On arrival buy a local SIM card for their cellphone or hire a cellphone with a local SIM card and provide Travel Buddy with their local number through the website. Travel Buddy will monitor the tourists' movements advising on local information centres as well as any areas they should avoid.
If approached by beggars the general advice is not to provide money but goods or food or donate to organisations that help street children.
Cape Town Emergency telephone numbers
Fire Brigade: 021 535 1100
Police Flying Squad: 10111
Mountain Rescue: 021 948 9900
Police (Tourist Assistance Unit): 4182852
Sea Rescue: 021 405 3500