Safe enough that I am willing to send my daughter there. Keep in mind Harvard is in a city next to an even bigger city. That alone makes it different from some small town out in the country. It does not have a reputation of being a dangerous place. We live 25-30 minutes away.
There was the shooting death of a Salem State College student at Harvard a few months ago, but I daresay that Cambridge is safe enough. Of course, you should always exercise personal vigilance, no matter where you are.
I'm a Massachusetts resident, a former Boston resident, and a Harvard freshman. Cambridge, like most cities, is safe if you're smart. I wouldn't suggest walking around by yourself at 3 AM, or walking around by yourself in certain areas at any time at night.
I lived in Cambridge for many years and a lot depends on what part of town your talking about... It's a small city but there are family, ethnic, student, inner city, and mansion neighborhoods. Most areas are fine with a few exceptions... You can ask about exact neighborhood anytime.
What about the university area? I am aware of the shooting that took place in, what some call "a drug deal gone wrong", but I know from reading that it doesn't happen often, however, I was looking at a list of Ivy League crime, and the most of which happens at Harvard. I just wanted to ask about that.
Most of which happens at Harvard?? I'm not sure what that is referring to, but I've always felt pretty safe in Cambridge. Safe enough to go running at 1 am. I think Yale, Columbia, UPenn, and Harvard all have campuses on which you have to be smart when walking around at night. That's just life in a city.