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The exponential growth of surveillance videos presents an unprecedented challenge for high-efficiency surveillance video coding technology. Compared with the existing coding standards that were basically developed for generic videos, surveillance video coding should be designed to make the best use of the special characteristics of surveillance videos (e.g., relative static background). To do so, this paper first conducts two analyses on how to improve the background and foreground prediction efficiencies in surveillance video coding. Following the analysis results, we propose a background-modeling-based adaptive prediction (BMAP) method. In this method, all blocks to be encoded are firstly classified into three categories. Then, according to the category of each block, two novel inter predictions are selectively utilized, namely, the background reference prediction (BRP) that uses the background modeled from the original input frames as the long-term reference and the background difference prediction (BDP) that predicts the current data in the background difference domain. For background blocks, the BRP can effectively improve the prediction efficiency using the higher quality background as the reference; whereas for foreground-background-hybrid blocks, the BDP can provide a better reference after subtracting its background pixels. Experimental results show that the BMAP can achieve at least twice the compression ratio on surveillance videos as AVC (MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding) high profile, yet with a slightly additional encoding complexity. Moreover, for the foreground coding performance, which is crucial to the subjective quality of moving objects in surveillance videos, BMAP also obtains remarkable gains over several state-of-the-art methods.