You're in t third world country in their second largest city, what did you think you were going to encounter? It would be great if the city would spruce the place up a bit, but they are more focused on uptown and other areas of growth and interest.
Sure there are snatchers and pickpockets, that comes with the territory. Just take common precautions and you should be fine. Jeepneys and taxis all over and pedestrians a plenty, that is down town.
Shopping, just learn how to haggle cause they will start high! There is not much in the way of quality but you can find interesting and usefull things if you take your time.
If you wander into Carbon (past USJR) keep your wits about you, but don't go there at night!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.