Back when I was working in a retail branch (in Australia), they were called ‘Rising Screens’. A google on ‘bank security rising screens’ will get you a lot of hits, seems they are also called ‘fast rising screens’
On the tellers counters there were/are prominent signs warning customers not to lean over the counter. If you were actually straddling one, it meant you were standing up on top of the tellers counter, so presumably you were trying to rob the place. We had to test these things on a weekly basis, plus I saw them accidently activated once, and believe me seeing them spring up only a foot in front of your face, I would not want to get struck by one, let alone be straddling one. With the force exerted by the screens I firmly believe someone straddling one would be bodily picked up and sandwiched between the screen and the ceiling, and probably have a significant amount of damage inflicted to their body.
Instructions to staff, if the screens were activated, were to not communicate with the bandits in any way. Hollywood to the contrary, your average bank robber does not want to hang aorund in a hostage situation - it’s quick in, quick out.
For ours in any case, the screens had large printed messages on them, printed on the side facing out towards the bandit, that stated an alarm had been activated and police alerted.
The design of the branches I was in, had the rising screens for the tellers area, but would invariably leave several branch staff out and vulnerable in the ‘public space’ of the branch. However excepted wisdom was an armed robber stymied by the screens would want to simply leave the branch ASAP, and not hang around to take out their frustration on staff and/or customers. Particularly as the tellers area was the only area of the branch that held any cash.
As to decreasing bank robberies, I can’t comment on the US situation, but In Australia the # of bank robberies has definitely been decreasing since the 80’s, as more and more security measures were introduced into branches. A difference from the States is that >80% of bank branches in Australia belong to 4 nationwide ‘majors’ and maybe 2-3 second tier banks. All of these banks, even the second tier ones, are big enough to afford the capital expenditure on their branches to upgrade security features. Making them ‘hard’ targets in comparison to service stations, 7-11’s etc.
[OT Grandpa story] Of course, when I first joined a bank in ~1993, I missed by a few years the days when a pistol was kept in the branch, and all senior branch staff had to spend time on a shooting range to qualify with the pistol.
This mightn’t sound overly strange to a US reader, but for an Australian, the idea of a mandatory firearm in the workplace is pretty out there. [end story ]