Older apartment buildings in NYC like this one in SoHo has to have an external fire escape because it does not have a water sprinkler system inside. The fire escape, however presents a security problem because it makes it easier for burglars to enter the apartment.
My first apartment in New York City was burglarized many years ago. The burglar climbed up the fire escape and entered the apartment through my bedroom window. Luckily, nothing important was stolen. I remember being traumatized for days after that. I was afraid to come home and when I did, I would ring the door bell a couple of times before entering the apartment. Obviously, I can laugh about it now but at the time, I had lost my sense of security.