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Video surveillance has been playing an important role in public safety and privacy protection in recent years thanks to its capability of providing the activity monitoring and content analyzing. However, the data associated with long hours surveillance video is huge, making it less attractive to practical applications. In this paper, we propose a low complexity, yet efficient scalable video coding solution for video surveillance system. The proposed surveillance video compression scheme is able to provide the quality scalability feature by following a layered coding structure that consists of one or several enhancement layers on the top of a base layer. In addition, to maintain the backward compatibility with the current video coding standards, the state-of-the-art video coding standard, i.e., High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), is employed in the proposed coding solution to compress the base layer. To satisfy the low complexity requirement of the encoder for the video surveillance systems, the distributed coding concept is employed at the enhancement layers. Experiments conducted for a rich set of surveillance video data shown that the proposed surveillance - distributed scalable video coding (S-DSVC) solution significantly outperforms relevant video coding benchmarks, notably the SHVC standard and the HEVC-simulcasting while requiring much lower computational complexity at the encoder which is essential for practical video surveillance applications.