The sidewalk immediately in front of the main train station - and the cybercafe across the street - may still OCCASIONALLY harbor some shady characters, beggars, etc. but at least now they pretend to be polite. In the 70's the entire area was full of pesky, pushy hustlers that would follow you down the block. Thank goodness those days are over. Since then the side streets have cleaned up nicely and there are good hotels in the area. In brief I would agree with the overall VT sentiment that Munich is a very safe city - just watch out during Oktoberfest, and be sensible of your surroundings anytime.
I have stayed in the area around the Hauptbahnhof several times, and I found there are a few areas to be wary of.
1st: Senefelderstr. Home to the Jaegers Youth Hostel, also close to Euro Youth Hotel and Senefelder Hotel. I have witnessed people shooting up in doorways there. Once, I phoned the police, and they did nothing.
2nd: The area around the Easyinternet cafe (opposite the Hauptbahnhof). It's open all day and night, people get drunk then go there. I witnessed a knife fight once, but it was only between the people concerned, not the general public.
3rd: English Garden. Yes, it's fantastic around Oktoberfest and the summer, but I got off the S-bahn at the Chinese Tower in late October, a monday afternoon, and there were young people generally being obnoxious and impolite towards foreigners (I am English but speak very good German, but that didn't help)
4th : Schwabing. Home of the University students. Most folk I talked to there were indeed students, however some were not so friendly, and my friend had her bag stolen in the middle of a conversation. Caution is advised.
5th: Airport. All airports are subject to crime, and Munich is no exception. Watch your bag, keep your wallet in a zip-up pocket, don't allow children to carry bags. I haven't had a problem here, but I know people who have.
I was going to write a review of beer halls, but got distracted.
My main advice is : Don't walk around the Hauptbahnhof by yourself (find someone in the same hotel or hostel to go with you). Avoid the Police (they carry big guns, which for me, coming from England, is extremely scary.)
Don't drink more beer than you know you can handle. Bear in mind this is strong beer. If you're English, a heavy drinker will drink 6 litres or more, medium 3 litres, small amount less than one litre. Small, delicate women are advised to drink Radler (lemonade and beer, or shandy) or Diesel (coke and beer, very nice, more Northern Germany).
The only really sketchy area of Munich that I have been in was around the train station after dark. But you guys probably already know that. I mean, really. What town isn't sketchy near the train station? Unfortunately, since every time I go to Munich I stay right across the street from the station, I am almost always walking around it after dark. Nothing has ever happened, but I have been nervous a few times. Just be careful and stay on your guard.
Yes, I´ve been living in the south central station area now for eight years, and as much as I love this hustling and bustling but seedy multicultural neighborhood, it´s not the safest area at night, especially for women.
To be best avoided at night: (mostly because of aggressive dealers and junkies, and occasionally foreign youth gangs tend to get troblesome, too)
-Front of Internetcafe/Bahnhofsplatz)
-Hbf Exits Schützenstr and Schillerstr.
-Landwehrstr. (especially between Goethe and Schillerstr, very bothersome and obnoxious people at night)
I'm staying few weeks in München and found the place safe and comfortable. The only exception is at Nett discount supermarket on Dachauerstrasse north of the main station. Nett is incredibly cheaper than the stores in the train station. Also, you can bring the bottles for recycling refunds. So, I have been visiting there many times.
The problem is one guy working at the cashier. He has a gray hair with gray mustache. He is very unfriendly to the customers and aways shouts to them. It's near the Arab neighborhood, so I can understand some people behave a bit different from the average German workers.
I returned 4 plastic watter bottles and a can, and bought 2 water, one bar of soap, and a pack of chocolate banana. The container in front of him for the recycling material was full, and he shouted me something. I was not sure what it meant. He shouted few times and the customer behind me said he wants me to threw the empty bottles to the box on the another cashier which is empty. So, I did. He finished scanning and I saw the charge was 2.13€. I gave him my 5€ note. He returned me 3€. I knew it should have some small coins, so I asked for the receipt. He actually made the ball from a long tape of receipt not given to customer and threw it away before I asked about it. I asked about the receipt saying “rechnung” but he pointed the trash can under his chair and he ignored me and kept scanning the items of the next customer. I don't know if he gave me the right change or was lazy to count and rounded up to 3€ or not. If it's another cashier like the Indian woman, it's more normal. I don't know why he act really strange.
I bought my dinner in a nearby restaurant and went back to my hotel. But my experience at Nett really ruined my mood. You can buy a can of beer for less than €1 there. So, I recommend the store, but try to avoid the mustache gray hair clerk if he is in charge. If you want not to be shouted, you better wait in the line with the female cashier like the Indian women, who is much polite and normal.
The main train station can be a bit dodgy at night, it was a surprise to me that is legal to drink beer in public places so try to avoid drunks who like to hang around the station.
Something else which is Important, adult shops are usually always near the train station, try to avoid walking outside them if you are a female by yourself