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This paper presents a hierarchical scheme with block-based and pixel-based codebooks for foreground detection. The codebook is mainly used to compress information to achieve a high efficient processing speed. In the block-based stage, 12 intensity values are employed to represent a block. The algorithm extends the concept of the block truncation coding, and thus it can further improve the processing efficiency by enjoying its low complexity advantage. In detail, the block-based stage can remove most of the backgrounds without reducing the true positive rate, yet it has low precision. To overcome this problem, the pixel-based stage is adopted to enhance the precision, which also can reduce the false positive rate. Moreover, the short-term information is employed to improve background updating for adaptive environments. As documented in the experimental results, the proposed algorithm can provide superior performance to that of the former related approaches.