The US State Department sites indicates that there are increased incidents of murder, kidnapping and sexual assaults of tourists.
Crimes against foreigners while still uncommon, even rare, are certainly on the rise in Sri Lanka - partly because there's been a surge in visitor numbers (arrivals doubled in 2012), so there are more people for things to happen to.
There could be a number of reasons, opportunity is certainly one of them. Local authorities are claiming a lack of policing (as you'll see in tis article: http://www.sundaytimes.lk/120122/News/nws_12.html) and hinting at a clash of cultures and attitudinal differences. A lot of what happens is called colloquially "eve teasing" (see this article for an explanation: http://safety.worldnomads.com/India/74219/Womens-travel-in-India-Its-a-mans-world). And remember the place was consumed in the turmoil of a civil war just a few years ago - the rules are not quite back to normal.
While it is every woman's inalienable right to go about her business unmolested, that's not the practical reality, and you should take that into consideration.
That's not to say the place is dangerous everywhere, all the time - but be wary of potentially dangerous situations. It's best not to walk around alone, or be on a beach alone. Sad, but true. almost 6 years ago