Originally Posted by whisper
If they are willing to come right up to you, someone else in the area is probably feeding them which is going to make it harder to keep them away. If you're in an apartment complex you might want to talk to the manager there about putting up a notice prohibiting feeding the raccoons.
I had this problem when I was living in Washington as a kid. They are definitely scavengers, and once they learn that people are a potential source of food... good luck getting rid of them. They would stop by our porch and, if we didn't have food for them (which we never did) they would proceed to shred anything they could find. Door mats, plastic trash cans, whatever, and, incidently, animals... Which brings me to my next warning.
Several people have suggested getting dogs. While this may work, it can also backfire. When I was about 10 years old I saw a 30 pound raccoon eviscerate a 150 pound dog in a matter of seconds. The dog went chasing after it, dove on top of it, the raccoon took a defensive position on its back while bicycling it's back feet, and a couple seconds later the dogs entrails were lying next to it. Raccoons are much, much tougher than they look.
The only thing I ever really had luck with was ammonia. Apparently it smells like urine to them and, being very clean animals by nature, they stay away from it. Unfortunately ammonia can be toxic to pets as well, so use caution. I can't really think of any other options at the moment though. I just found a website that says to put a radio out and leave it on a talk show channel because then they will think there are humans and avoid the area. I can't confirm whether or not this works though.