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Modeling human behaviors and activity patterns for recognition or detection of special event has attracted significant research interest in recent years. Diverse methods that are abound for building intelligent vision systems aimed at scene understanding and making correct semantic inference from the observed dynamics of moving targets. Most applications are in surveillance, video content retrieval, and human-computer interfaces. This paper presents not only an update extending previous related surveys, but also a focus on contextual abnormal human behavior detection especially in video surveillance applications. The main purpose of this survey is to extensively identify existing methods and characterize the literature in a manner that brings key challenges to attention.