Safety is important no matter where you travel. Through not common, always be aware of pickpockets on trains, buses, and other crowded areas like markets. Pickpockets are known to target tourists for their cash, credit cards, or other important documents.
Just as anywhere else, when crossing streets, look both ways. Also, be aware of people on bicycles who can sneak up behind you without warning.
You can contact the police department in the event of an emergency. If you are an American citzen, you may also contact the United States Embassy. The embassy is centrally located on Gwanghwamun Square. You should contact the embassy in case of an emergency, need to report a cime, or you have other issues such as a lost or stolen passport. If you are not an American citizen, you may contact the embassy of your country for the same issues.
In an emergency situation, pick up a phone and dial 119. This option is available 24 hours a day. Once dialed, you will be connected to a center where operators are trained to speak many languages including English, Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian, and Vietnamese. You can also use this service to find out information about hospitals, illnesses, and first-aid methods.
To reach the Korean National Police, dial 313-0842 (not toll free). This service is available 24 hours a day and is often used to report crimes. An interpreter is available for non-Korean callers.
If you are having trouble communicating with a person or business in Korea, then you can call 1588-5744. You will be connected to an interpreter who can offer immediate translation services in over 17 languages such as English, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malay, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, German, Portuguese, Arabic, Polish, Turkish, and Swedish.
You may also call 1330 to reach the Korea Travel Hotline. This hotline is used mainly for tourist related questions and information.