In recent years, the wide use of video surveillance systems has caused an enormous increase in the amount of data that has to be stored, monitored, and processed. As a consequence, it is crucial to support human operators with automated surveillance applications. Towards this end an intelligent video analysis module for real-time alerting in case of abandoned objects in public spaces is proposed. The overall processing pipeline consists of two major parts. First, person motion is modeled using an Interacting Multiple Model (IMM) filter. The IMM filter estimates the state of a person according to a finite-state, discrete-time Markov chain. Second, the location of persons that stay at a fixed position defines a region of interest, in which a nonparametric background model with dynamic per-pixel state variables identifies abandoned objects. In case of a detected abandoned object, an alarm event is triggered. The effectiveness of the proposed system is evaluated on the PETS 2006 dataset and the i-Lids dataset, both reflecting prototypical surveillance scenarios.