Ah, sorry, I haven't been on the discussion board in quite a while. Hopefully this is still helpful.
Hah! My family actually lives in Crescent Lofts! Most people say do not live south of Locust Street (and Crescent Lofts are south), but I feel that stereotype is mostly unfair. While my mom has lived in Crescent Lofts alone for a few years and has never had any issues, there is some violence in that neighborhood so if you are really worried about safety (as in you are coming from a very small town) I would not live there. If you do choose to live there, my main recommendation would be to rent a parking spot in the garage. I did have my car broken in to when I lived there and parked outside, plus, you don't necessarily want to be walking around that neighborhood at night. A lot of young people live at Crescent Lofts and I think you would really love it. The main place you don't want to live is south of Locust Street and west of Harrison (although, again, you can find some nice places there). All this to say, there is some violence in these neighborhoods, but nothing compared to a bigger city. It is all what you are comfortable with. I personally like the area around Vander Veer Park which is close to your university.
I grew up in Davenport and never used public transportation so I can't really speak to this. From my perspective, everyone has a car and it is not a very walkable city. You just want to make sure you can easily get to a grocery store (HyVee) and campus, so it is also dependent on where you decide to live. Still, I would recommend getting a car if possible.
Davenport is actually getting pretty cool! Check out Daytrotter. They just moved to downtown Davenport and put on live shows with great indie musicians from across the country. There are also a few breweries (Great River). It's not the most happening place, but Iowa City is within driving distance and has a lot of cultural and arts events since that is where the University of Iowa is located. Codfish Hollow, a barn that puts on live shows and you can camp there, is also within driving distance.