No conspiracy Joe, I think it’s just coincidence. I’m pretty sure that all of us (except where the critters don’t live, deserts?) have these little fellas peeking through fence boards just waiting to run around our creations and swipe a few shiny objects they find on the way.
Even being 3 minutes from the point here in the Burgh, we are surrounded by woods on all four sides. We have deer, turkey. grouse, woodpeckers, fox, squirrels chipmunks and yes lots of racoons. At one point there was an abandoned house across the street from us that was infested with them. Once in a while we would wake in the middle of the night when an angry pair of them would crash out of a front window on to the houses tin front porch roof in a fit of rage fighting over something. Thankfully that house and the one next to it were taken down by the city.
We still have plenty of them around though. The first night I had a few of the sections of my new “trestle” up I found their muddy prints on it when I went out to begin work the next morning. They don’t waste time exploring. They can cause a little trouble, but they are cute and I would not consider them a physical danger to humans unless provoked. They’d rather scurry away than fight, but can be very vicious.
Edit, to ad skunk and blue heron. In fact my neighbor called in a panic the other day because she thought the heron perched on the top of a house eying the other neighbor’s gold fish pond was going to a tack her and her kids. She called it a vulture. I assured her it was only after some fish. (http://www.largescalecentral.com/externals/tinymce/plugins/emoticons/img/smiley-laughing.gif)