Addis Ababa is safer than other African cities. Gang violence and other dangerous actions are uncommon. Pick-pockets and con-artists may be encountered at and near Bole Airport, Mercato, Piazza, and other localities. Keep your things near by and be aware of your surroundings.
In contrast to other African towns, police officers in Addis Ababa never approach foreigners and ask them to provide a passport, ID, or “legal” documents. Once you display your passport at the airport, you are free to go almost anyplace. The only time you’ll need your passport or ID is for hotel registration (booking) and a few other comparable and rare occasions.