A few ways to make running a little safer:
1. Visit a reputable shoe store that specializes in running. Let them watch you run/walk and give you advice on the best shoe for you. People who work in these stores are runners and have a lot of experience with shoes and their proper fit.
2. Change your shoes every 300-500 miles. Keep track of your mileage on a calendar or with a device such as the Nike+ sensor. After 300-500 miles, you have worn down the cushioning/support and raise your risk for injuries.
3. Only wear your running shoes for running. This will help you to make your shoes last longer. Think of all of the miles that you walk in your shoes, which cause the shoe to wear down quicker. Consider retiring your running shoes to walking shoes every time you buy new running shoes. That way you always have a pair of shoes to walk and to run in.
4. Cross-train. The constant stress of running may lead to overuse injuries. By varying your program, you work muscles in different ways and give your joints a break from impact.
5. Strength train. Overall strength training is important for a number of reasons, but specifically training the lower body can really help with running. Not only will it aid you in performance, but will also help to decrease injuries due to increased muscle mass and strength; and increased bone density.
6. Slowly increase mileage. Increasing mileage too quickly is an easy way to hurt yourself and land a spot on the couch instead of the road.
I run because I know that if a bad guy is every chasing me, I could outrun him :).